Minor League Report: Adenhart, Green

Adenhart, Green on fast track to rotation

TEMPE, Ariz. -- They share a locker in the Major League clubhouse, the Nick and Nick corner: Nick Adenhart and Nick Green, two young right-handers with big dreams and talent to match.

Paired together at Double-A Arkansas in 2007, they're expected to form two-fifths of the rotation at Triple-A Salt Lake this season. Their long-term goals are to grace the Angels' rotation, and there are those who feel it could happen.

"We get along very well, and we push ourselves and each other," Green, 23, said. "We compete with each other about who's going to get the most strikeouts, the [fewest] walks, stuff like that. It's only going to make us better."

Adenhart, 21, grinned. "Yeah, he got me on walks, but I made up for it in strikeouts."

Coveted by the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera trade talks, Adenhart was relieved that deal didn't go through. Considered the pitching gem of the system, Adenhart, 21, could barge into the rotation as early as 2009 with a big season at Salt Lake.

"Nick is so smooth with his delivery -- very effortless -- and the ball really jumps," Green said. "He throws harder, topping out at 95, 96, 97. I'm more 92, 93. My changeup is my best pitch. He's got a good change, too, and an unbelievable curveball. I throw a slurve, and it works pretty well for me."

Green, a long and lean athlete from Tifton, Ga., signed for $1,500 as a 35th-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Darton (Ga.) Junior College. His changeup is considered the best in the system.

Adenhart signed for $710,000 out of Williamsport, Md., a 14th-round pick after blowing out his elbow during his senior year of high school and undergoing Tommy John reconstruction surgery.

Wood back at shortstop: Brandon Wood is expected to get reacquainted with his natural position this season at Salt Lake after cutting his teeth in 2007 at third base, getting several looks there with the big club.

"I just want to play, doesn't really matter where," said Wood, who is insurance at both positions for the Angels.

"Brandon is going to be a star in the future," said Angels second baseman Howard Kendrick, who came up with Wood. "I have no doubt about his talent." The brass feels the same way, raving about is bat speed and power, and is convinced the rangy kid from Scottsdale, Ariz., needs only to improve his strike zone judgment to make it.

Matt Brown, who had a cameo with the Angels last year, will be at third in Salt Lake with Sean Rodriguez expected to play second.

Spring Training
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Infield depth: Beyond Wood, Brown and Rodriguez, the Angels have a collection of infielders they're excited about, including shortstop Hainley Statia, middle infielders Ryan Mount, Adam Pavkovich and Nate Sutton, and corner infielders Matt Sweeney, Mark Trumbo, P.J. Phillips and Freddy Sandoval.

They're No. 1: Trevor Bell, first round supplemental pick in 2005, was 8-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 21 starts for Class A Cedar Rapids in 2007. The 6-foot-2 right-hander struck out 90 while walking only 23 in 115 1/3 innings, with a 1.38 WHIP. He figures to start at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga.

Hank Conger, a 2006 first-round pick, made excellent progress at Cedar Rapids, hitting .290 in 84 games with 11 homers and 48 RBIs. Back issues surfaced, but Conger is in the Major League camp and making a solid impression with his defensive development and intelligence behind the plate.

Jon Bachanov, the 2007 first-round pick in the supplemental round, is trying to regain strength in his elbow. The club is being careful with the big right-hander from University High School in Orlando, Fla., wanting to make sure he doesn't aggravate the problem before getting him started. He's a power arm in the John Lackey mold.

Class of '07: Shortstop Andrew Romine had a solid debut at Orem, hitting .286 and impressing in the field, but teammate Trevor Pipp, an outfielder, struggled to find his stroke. The club is high on a pair of southpaws, Trevor Reckling and Michael Anton. Jay Brossman, a 6-2 third baseman from Salt Lake City, hit .346 at Orem. He's 23.

What they're saying: "First time I played catch with Nick [Adenhart], he threw a changeup and it hit me in the knee. He's got unbelievable stuff. This guy could be a Cy Young Award winner someday." -- pitching prospect Steve Marek

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.