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Saturday, July 28, 2012
Angels hope Greinke settles in fast

By Mark Saxon



ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Zack Greinke will be riding a 19-game home unbeaten streak when he takes the mound at Angel Stadium on Sunday afternoon, but those came in a different home -- actually, two different homes.

Greinke, the 2009 Cy Young winner, has pitched once at Dodger Stadium and three times at Angel Stadium, though he estimates he has been to Southern California 20 or 30 times with the Kansas City Royals or Milwaukee Brewers.

You could look at the next two months as a feeling-out period for Greinke, who will be a free agent after this season and said the Angels are an organization that "just about anybody in baseball would want to be a part of, that's one way to put it."

The Angels acquired Greinke on Friday in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and Double-A pitchers John Hellweg and Ariel Pena. It could prove a hefty price to pay if Greinke leaves in November. A Florida native, Greinke knew virtually nobody on the Angels roster before he walked in the door Saturday afternoon, though he played some travel ball as a kid with catcher Bobby Wilson.

"I'd definitely get lost if I didn't have a map, but I know what direction to kind of head," Greinke said at his introductory media conference Saturday. "I don't know what roads to take, but I like to get a rental car because there's a lot of stuff to do around here."

The Angels say they think Greinke could give them the deepest rotation in the American League. He'll follow Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson. For now, Ervin Santana (4-10, 6.00 ERA) will remain as the Angels' No. 5 starter, but Garrett Richards will be standing by -- in the bullpen-- if Santana struggles again Monday night in Texas.

The Angels activated catcher Chris Iannetta from the 15-day disabled list Saturday and he will catch Greinke's Angels debut. The Angels optioned John Hester to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Iannetta has never caught Greinke, but he faced him last year in National League games and several times before that in spring training.

"He's a really tough at-bat," Iannetta said. "He doesn't give you a lot of pitches to hit and, when he does, they're not ideal. They're really tough breaking balls in the strike zone."

[UPDATE: The Angels optioned lefty reliever Hisanori Takahashi to make room on the 25-man roster for Greinke. It's a little surprising since Takahashi is a three-year veteran and is making $4.2 million this season. In 33 appearances, he had a 4.37 ERA and a 1.086 WHIP]

Here are lineups for Saturday's game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays:

Tampa Bay
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Ben Zobrist DH
Jeff Keppinger 1B
Ryan Roberts 3B
Sean Rodriguez SS
Matt Joyce RF
Brooks Conrad 2B
Jose Molina C

Angels
Mike Trout CF
Torii Hunter RF
Albert Pujols 1B
Mark Trumbo DH
Howie Kendrick 2B
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Vernon Wells LF
Maicer Izturis SS
Bobby Wilson C