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Torii Hunter bounces back

ANGELS

His nose isn't broken and his sinuses are clear after his accident during Wednesday's game.

March 27, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

GOODYEAR, ARIZ. — There was one benefit to being whacked in the nose by a ball that caromed off the center-field wall Wednesday.

That sinus infection bothering Torii Hunter? Not an issue anymore.

"It's crazy, man," said Hunter, who was back in center field Thursday, the swelling around his right eye having subsided. "You go to the doctor for a sinus infection, then you get hit in the nose. I get an X-ray and they say, 'Well, one thing I can tell you is your sinuses cleared up.' That was pretty funny."

Hunter could laugh because X-rays on his head, as the old punch line goes, showed nothing, a pleasant surprise for Manager Mike Scioscia.

"It looked nasty," Scioscia said. "I would have bet my bottom dollar his nose was broken."

Hunter, who was pulled from the game after the first-inning injury, also feared something worse.

"It was puffy -- I couldn't see," Hunter said. "But I iced it all night, and the swelling went down."

The injury didn't affect Hunter, who crushed a pair of solo home runs to left field and doubled in a run in the Angels' 8-5 exhibition victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday. His third-inning shot followed home runs by Bobby Abreu and Vladimir Guerrero.

Hunter's only glitch Thursday came on defense, when Shin-Soo Choo's long, wind-driven fly ball to the warning track in right-center nicked off his glove for an error.

Getting close

Closer Brian Fuentes, who missed a week in early March because of back tightness and had a 12.27 earned-run average in 3 2/3 spring innings, retired the side in order in the seventh Thursday.

The left-hander's fastball, which usually ranges from 88-91 mph, hit 89 mph consistently and 90 mph once.

"I felt all right, I feel healthy, I just wish I wasn't behind [in the count] as much as I was," Fuentes said. "But I didn't walk anyone, which is good. It's not mid-season form, but it's a positive step."

Scioscia doesn't seem concerned about his closer.

"Brian is a veteran who knows what he needs to get into his game," he said. "His stuff will be there, we know that. . . . We're looking at the execution of a pitch, their stuff. And we've seen that improve from Brian outing to outing. The last couple outings the ball is coming out of his hand much better."

Nick to stick

Nick Adenhart took another big step toward sewing up the fifth spot on the rotation, giving up four runs -- one earned -- and five hits in six innings, striking out three, walking two and escaping a first-and-third, no-outs jam in the first.

The rookie right-hander, who struggled with his command in 2008, has a 3.26 ERA in five spring games, with 13 strikeouts and four walks in 19 1/3 innings.

"Nick is much different than he was last season," Scioscia said. "What I liked today is he got out of sync early, made adjustments, found it, and kept it for a long time. He had good stuff today."

Short hops

The Angels improved their Cactus League-best record to 21-4 and have tied their franchise record for spring wins, set in 1996 and 2005. They have scored 64 runs on 77 hits, including 19 homers, in their last five games. . . . Mike Napoli, relegated to designated hitter while he recovered from shoulder surgery, is scheduled to catch five or six innings today against Arizona, his first action behind the plate this spring.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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