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Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Angels pitchers get in the swing

By Mark Saxon

ANAHEIM -- If you look closely at the out-of-town scoreboard at Angel Stadium, you might notice a little white dot at the bottom, just above the Budweiser sign.

It's a baseball, and it was hit there by Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson in batting practice last week. That feat gained Wilson, who was an outfielder at Loyola Marymount, a measure of bragging rights among the pitchers, who have been taking batting practice in anticipation of upcoming series at Colorado and Dodger Stadium.

Overall, don't expect much from the No. 9 spot in the Angels' lineup starting Friday. Dan Haren, the best-hitting pitcher on the stuff -- who manager Mike Scioscia has already used as a pinch hitter this season -- said the skill tends to atrophy over time for American League pitchers.

Haren batted .364 with a home run in 57 plate appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 before he was traded to Anaheim. He's looking forward to taking some hacks Saturday, but he has low expectations.

"It's not like riding a bike," Haren said. "I was hitting all right out of college, then I went to Oakland for three years and it took me until the middle part of my second year at Arizona until I started getting good again. If we get a couple hits now, it's pretty much just running into something."

Here are lineups for Wednesday night's game against Seattle, with Jerome Williams opposing Hector Noesi:

RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Dustin Ackley
3B Kyle Seager
DH Jesus Montero
1B Justin Smoak
CF Michael Saunders
C Miguel Olivo
LF Mike Carp
SS Brendan Ryan

LF Mike Trout
3B Maicer Izturis
1B Albert Pujols
DH Kendrys Morales
RF Mark Trumbo
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Erick Aybar
C Hank Conger
CF Peter Bourjos