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Monday, March 19, 2012
Things we knew, but now know better

By Mark Saxon



The Angels aren't viewed as a probable playoff team because they acquired Albert Pujols ... at least, not entirely.

Their strength is still pitching, particularly the four starters who each finished in the top 14 in the American League ERA standings last year. The one who had the highest ERA among those four, Ervin Santana, has looked as good as anyone this spring. He struck out four Colorado Rockies in four scoreless innings during the Angels' 4-3 loss Monday at Salt River Fields.

Combined, Santana, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson are 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 11 Cactus League starts. They have combined for 37 strikeouts (and eight walks) in 30 innings.

Santana pitched Monday just five days after being struck in the right shoulder by a well-hit Alexei Ramirez line drive.

"He used all his pitches, good fastball command and great four innings for him. We're excited about that," manager Mike Scioscia said. ...

Kendrys Morales is going to have good days and bad days in his return from a catastrophic injury. He went 0-for-3 in a minor league game and, according to OCRegister.com, reported some soreness in his right shin (not the twice-surgically repaired left ankle), so he may or may not play in his first Cactus League game on Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals. ...

It would have been nice for the Angels to get their first look at Yu Darvish Saturday when they take on the Texas Rangers, but to no one's surprise, they won't, even though that would have been his normal turn. Why would Texas give the Angels a free sneak preview, squandering an early edge for the Japanese phenom?

Most likely, the Angels will get to start figuring him out May 11-13 in Arlington, Texas.