Gentry loving it with new team in Anaheim

Calls signing with Angels 'best decision that I could've made'

Gentry loving it with new team in Anaheim

ANAHEIM -- Craig Gentry was a productive, highly skilled outfielder for the Rangers for about a three-year period from 2011-13. Then he went to Oakland, and then, suddenly, his numbers dropped, both in the Major Leagues and in Triple-A.

"It's baseball," Gentry said before Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Rangers. "Weird stuff happens."

Gentry batted .288/.365/.380 over a 292-game stretch with the Rangers, then batted .254/.319/.289 in an injury-riddled 2014 season in Oakland and spent most of 2015 in the Minor Leagues, batting .256/.319/.327 for Triple-A Nashville.

He was designated for assignment on Nov. 20, elected free agency a couple of weeks later and joined the Angels shortly thereafter.

He called it "the best decision that I could've made."

"There was a couple of other teams to choose from," Gentry said, "but this one, I felt, was the best fit for me, and I think the best opportunity overall. It's worked out so far."

Gentry, who signed a $1 million non-guaranteed contract, felt like the Angels would give him a legitimate opportunity, but he knew he had to prove worthy during Spring Training. He batted .321 over a 22-game stretch and got locked in as Daniel Nava's platoon mate in left field, starting every time a left-handed pitcher was on the other side.

The Angels were drawn to Gentry's elite defense and base-stealing ability, but they also like his bat enough to put him second in their lineup, directly in front of Mike Trout.

The Rangers, in town for a four-game series, are seeing the Gentry they got to know in Arlington.

"I played there for a lot of years; I still keep in touch with a lot of the guys on the staff over there," said Gentry, slowed by a lower-back strain, a sore knee, a broken right hand and a concussion in 2014. "It's fun to get back and play against them. I feel good. I felt like I had a good Spring Training and a good first couple of games. I'm just trying to keep that confidence going."

Worth noting

• Angels starter C.J. Wilson passed his most recent strength test and will begin throwing again in Arizona on Monday, while the rest of his teammates start a 10-game, three-city road trip. Wilson, dealing with shoulder tendinitis pretty much since the start of camp, hasn't played catch in about three weeks and still has "a ways to go" before throwing off a mound, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. It'll take him at least a month to be ready for Major League action.

• In need of a fresh arm after the bullpen absorbed six innings in Friday's 7-3 loss, the Angels optioned Cam Bedrosian to Triple-A and brought up fellow reliever A.J. Achter. Achter, formerly with the Twins, was claimed off waivers over the offseason and put together an impressive Spring Training, giving up one run in 10 2/3 innings, striking out 11 and walking one. Achter felt it was "as good a spring as I've ever had. I was able to command three pitches pretty successfully, keep the ball down."

• Nava, who exited Friday's game with a laceration in his left index finger, took batting practice early Saturday afternoon and felt fine doing so. The Angels expect Nava to be available as a pinch-hitter this weekend, which is all they'll need him for until they face a right-handed starter, Oakland's Sonny Gray, on Monday. X-rays on Nava's finger were negative and did not require any stitches. Nava throws left-handed and can't do so at the moment.

• Saturday marked the anniversary of the tragic passing of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, killed by a drunk driver along with two others, Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson, on this date in 2009. Said Scioscia: "It's something that we think about often. The tragedy speaks for itself. Once you move on and understand that the family lost a son, it has a deeper impact. Nick had an effect on everybody that was here, and continues to."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.