For most Major league players, spring training is a time where they knock off the rust and get themselves ready for the regular season. And for Los Angeles Angels shortstop Erick Aybar, he appears to be more than prepared for the upcoming season.
Aybar is having an all-around solid spring training as he has a triple slash of .333/.459/.467 with five RBIs, a team-leading 10 runs scored and seven walks in 13 games played. The eight-year veteran is also showing why he is a former Gold Glove award winner with his .969 fielding percentage and one error committed in 71.o innings along with turning a team-high five double plays so far this spring training.
The fast start for Aybar is an encouraging sign as he is looking to build off of a productive 2013 season where he hit .271 with six home runs, 54 RBI, 68 runs scored and tied his career-high of 33 doubles in 138 games played. As he heads into his ninth season with the Halos, the 30-year-old is also motivated to help the team bounce back from a difficult 2013 season that saw the team once again fail to meet lofty expectations.
Aybar was a part of that struggle last season as he had two months where he batted .252 or lower and also dealt with injury problems that forced him to miss a total of 22 games due to issues with his left heel and right hamstring. So with a solid start to this year’s spring training, it may be a foreshadowing of another productive season offensively that could possibly match Aybar’s career-best 2009 season where he had career highs in batting average (.312), hits (157), triples (9), on-base percentage (.353), slugging percentage (.423) and second-highest in RBI (58) and runs scored (70).
So with about two weeks left this spring training, expect Aybar to be more honed in at the plate and on the diamond as he gears up for what he hopes to be a redeeming 2014 regular season for he and his teammates with an AL West title and a postseason appearance on their minds.