Friday, March 30, 2012
Things that mattered Friday
By Mark Saxon
C.J. Wilson, unlike some pitchers at this time of the spring, seems to have avoided a dead arm phase. His fastball was lively Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, helping him pile up six strikeouts in the first 10 batters he faced.
Wilson got through six innings, giving up five hits that included a long Ryan Roberts home run and two runs. Wilson's next start figures to be truncated and will be his last this spring, putting him on target to open the season as the Angels' No. 4 starter against the Minnesota Twins.
Still no explanation from Mike Scioscia about why he slotted Wilson at No. 4 ahead of Ervin Santana, but it could relate to the fact the Twins hit .249 against left-handed pitching last year. The Kansas City Royals, the Angels' opponent in the opening series, were fifth in the AL with a .269 average against lefties.
* Two developments will adversely affect some of the players scrambling for the final spots on the roster. The Angels have not yet traded Bobby Abreu and they added reliever Jason Isringhausen to the 40-man roster and promised him a spot on the team come Opening Day.
Abreu occupies just one roster spot, but the Isringhausen move was a double blow to guys like Jorge Cantu, in camp on a minor-league deal. The Angels' 40-man roster is now at the limit, meaning to add Cantu means the Angels would have to subtract somebody else. That person could well turn out to be Abreu, of course, as the Angels figure to continue to look at trades and might simply decide to release Abreu, who has no apparent role.
* The demotion of Mike Trout surprised nobody who has been around the team this spring, including Trout. The question now becomes how much his lengthy absence due to an illness will affect his season at Triple-A and, perhaps, prolong his rise to the major leagues.
Trout lost somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds and, according to reports, has only put on about 10 since the illness. He still isn't playing outfield due to a stiff right shoulder. It's been a frustrating spring for a promising young player.