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ANGELS 4, CHICAGO WHITE SOX 1

Angels' Dustin Moseley takes a big step in bid for rotation spot

The right-hander pitches five scoreless innings in exhibition victory.

March 19, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

GLENDALE, ARIZ. — Like baseball fans -- and many big leaguers -- across the country, Torii Hunter watched in awe Tuesday as players on the U.S. World Baseball Classic team dog-piled each other in wild celebration of a 6-5, come-from-behind, walk-off win over Puerto Rico.

"You always want to be part of something like that," the Angels center fielder said.

If only they had asked.

Hunter is an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner and two-time All-Star, a 10-year veteran who is considered one of the best center fielders in the game, but he was not asked to participate in the inaugural 2006 WBC or this year's event.

He's not sure why he was snubbed in 2006, but he has a pretty good idea why the selection committee chose Curtis Granderson and Shane Victorino over him this spring.

In 2006, Hunter was quoted as saying team chemistry could be affected by players leaving camp to play in the WBC, and that injuries could present problems.

"Oh yeah, they remember stuff like that -- it's probably why I never got asked," Hunter said. "I wasn't saying it's a bad event. I think it's good for countries to showcase their talents.

"I was just saying, if guys leave their teams and something happens, owners and managers would be upset. But it's no big deal. I'm excited to see those guys represent."

Closing in

Dustin Moseley took a huge step toward winning one of the final two rotation spots Wednesday, allowing four hits in five scoreless innings of the Angels' 4-1 exhibition victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Moseley struck out four and walked one, using his sinking two-seam fastball to induce eight ground-ball outs.

He threw 58 pitches in the game and 12 in the bullpen to bring his pitch count to 70.

"I was ahead of guys, throwing strikes, putting myself in good counts," the right-hander said.

Leadoff batter Chone Figgins, who hit one home run in 2008, drove a Gavin Floyd pitch over the right-field wall for a two-run home run in the third inning.

"They keep saying they need a power-hitting third baseman," Figgins said. "I figured I might as well try to show it."

Gary Matthews Jr., recovering from knee surgery, crushed a solo shot far beyond the right-field wall in the fourth inning for his first homer of the spring.

"That ball was squared up," Manager Mike Scioscia said.

Reliever Kevin Jepsen made his first multiple-inning appearance in seven spring outings, allowing one hit in two scoreless innings.

Not close

Brian Fuentes didn't look OK on Tuesday, but the Angels closer said, "Physically, everything is OK," after being rocked for five runs, three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning against San Diego.

"I went a week without throwing and need to get things right," said Fuentes, slowed by back tightness. "I need to establish my fastball, and then I'll be better off."

Short hops

The Angels are off today, but Joe Saunders will start and reliever Jose Arredondo will pitch in minor league games. . . . Kelvim Escobar, well ahead of schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery, will throw 35-40 pitches of batting practice today and could pitch in a camp game early next week. . . . Vladimir Guerrero, who had surgery on his right knee in October, is scheduled to make his exhibition debut Friday against Arizona. . . . Outfielder Reggie Willits is out because of a tight groin.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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