Don Robinson's last successful spring, by his recollection, was in 1978. This would be a good year to end that streak, because it's the first year in nearly 15 that he's unsure of a job.
"Every time I go out there, I go out like it's the regular season because I've got to make this club," the 34-year-old right-hander said. "I don't usually get a good fastball until the middle of April, but this year I'm going to try and get it a little quicker."
Robinson found his fastball Sunday, pitching two creditable innings for the Angels in a 5-2 victory over the Padres that completed a doubleheader sweep at Desert Sun Stadium.
Joe Grahe, the probable fourth starter this season, pitched three scoreless innings in the first game, and the Angels rode five Padre errors to a 7-2 rout.
Robinson, signed as a free agent in January, is vying with Dave Johnson, Matt Keough and Scott Lewis for the fifth spot in the rotation. Outings like Sunday's will help his cause.
"I was impressed with the way he pitched the first time out," Manager Buck Rodgers said. "He's cranked it up a little bit because this isn't a normal spring training for him."
Robinson, who was 5-9 for the Giants last season with a 4.38 earned-run average, knows he must have a good spring.
"Just staying healthy is the key for me," said Robinson, who ended the first inning by striking out Benito Santiago with runners on first and second. He gave up a home run to Jerald Clark in the second inning. They know I've had (knee and shoulder) problems in the past, and if it's even, they're going to say, 'Do we take the guy who's got a chance of getting hurt or the guy who's never gotten hurt?' " he said. "I know what they'd do."
The competition at shortstop between Gary DiSarcina and Dick Schofield is intense. DiSarcina started two double plays and made several slick defensive moves in the first game, and Schofield responded in the second game by going two for five and scoring a run.
"Dick had some of his best swings today. He didn't have a swing like that in the six weeks I saw him last season," Rodgers said. "I hope (the decision) runs right down to April 5."
The Angels have stolen seven bases, two short of their total for last spring. . . . Shawn Abner hit the Angels' first spring homer, off Bruce Hurst in the second game. . . . Hubie Brooks, who started the first game in left field, had a two-run single. Gary Gaetti was two for three with an RBI, and Alvin Davis went two for four with two RBIs in the second game. . . . Lance Parrish, idle two days because of a sore left ankle, is expected to catch today.