|ESPN.com: Spring 2011||[Print without images]|
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels will begin the season with four players on the 15-day disabled list, opening spots for a handful of first-year players.
The team set its 25-man roster after Tuesday's 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Angels' final exhibition game. First baseman Kendrys Morales, pitchers Joel Pineiro and Scott Downs, and reserve outfielder Reggie Willits all will begin the season on the DL, although only Morales is expected to be out for more than a couple of weeks.
The injuries present opportunities to five players with less than a month of major league experience. Among them is catcher Hank Conger, 23, one of the team's brightest prospects, who made the first Opening Day roster of his career.
Morales could be out until May or later, but the other three players are expected back in early April. Teams can make disabled list stints retroactive to as far back as March 22.
Pineiro is slated to make his season debut April 8 against the Toronto Blue Jays in the team's home opener. He threw 59 pitches in a minor league game in Arizona on Tuesday, and manager Mike Scioscia said he experienced no discomfort in his right shoulder. He left his March 20 start with tightness in the area behind his shoulder blade.
Young relievers Jordan Walden and Michael Kohn both made their first Opening Day rosters, as did first baseman Mark Trumbo, who likely will get the bulk of the playing time as Morales' replacement at first base. Infielder Brandon Wood also made the team despite batting .146 last year.
The Angels also kept reserve outfielder Chris Pettit, although he likely will be optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake when Willits returns. Relievers Jason Bulger and Rich Thompson both made the team, but Francisco Rodriguez, who pitched in 43 games for the Angels last year, will be optioned to Salt Lake.Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.