Fast start by Maldonado impressing Angels

New backstop playing like he wants the full-time job

Fast start by Maldonado impressing Angels

OAKLAND -- The 2017 season remains in its nascent stages for the Angels, but the first few games of the campaign have already offered a glimpse at how the Halos might handle the division of playing time between catchers Martin Maldonado and Carlos Perez this season.

Maldonado, who was acquired from the Brewers in exchange for Jett Bandy in December, has started the Angels first three games, signaling that he will likely get his first opportunity to be a primary catcher in the big leagues. Maldonado, 30, spent much of his career backing up All-Star Jonathan Lucroy in Milwaukee, but he's impressed the Angels with his defense and currently appears to be ahead of Perez on the depth chart.

Maldonado made his presence behind the plate felt Tuesday night in the Angels' 7-6 win over the A's, unleashing two outstanding throws to pick off Marcus Semien at first base and nab Rajai Davis at second base on a stolen base attempt.

"He's a game-changer behind the plate with his arm," manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's no doubt that when he throws, that ball comes out hot."

Maldonado picks off Semien

Still, Perez also figures to draw plenty of starts and is expected to make his season debut Thursday in the Angels' series finale in Oakland, which will be a day game after a night game.

Perez, 26, entered last spring as the Halos' No. 1 catcher, but he lost his starting job after struggling at the plate and was briefly demoted to Triple-A to work on his offense. Perez tried revamping his swing this year by adding a leg kick, but he still batted just .182 (8-for-44) in Spring Training and appears poised to serve as Maldonado's backup.

Scioscia has remained relatively mum on how he sees the catching situation shaking out, but he's acknowledged that the two catchers' playing time is malleable and "it could change during the year."

Worth noting

• Scioscia said he's been following the news about his former Dodgers teammate Pedro Guerrero, who awoke from a coma Wednesday after suffering a stroke.

"It's tough," Scioscia said. "We got a little bit better news today, from what I understand. We're all praying for him, and hopefully he'll get through this and get his health back."

• The Angels announced that right-hander Kirby Yates, who was designated for assignment last week, has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.