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ANGELS FYI

Angels’ lineup is dinged up

Nagging injuries to Aybar, Abreu and Matsui have kept the team from getting all of its projected starters on the field. Scioscia says he’s not worried.

March 20, 2010|By Kevin Baxter

Reporting from Tucson — The Angels are just two weeks from opening day yet they still haven't seen their projected starting lineup on the field at the same time.

Nagging injuries have limited shortstop Erick Aybar (elbow, forearm), right fielder Bobby Abreu (strained side) and designated hitter Hideki Matsui (knees) to less than 18 Cactus League at-bats each. But Manager Mike Scioscia said he's not concerned.

"These guys don't need 70 or 80 at-bats," Scioscia said. "You're talking anywhere from 35 to 50 and these guys will be ready to go. And they're definitely going to get that easy."

None of the three made the two-hour trip to Tucson for Saturday's loss to Colorado, staying behind in Tempe to get some of those needed at-bats in a camp game. Aybar led off all five innings in which he played, going hitless with a pair of strikeouts. Matsui also came to the plate five times and failed to get a hit, though he did walk three times.

At-bats aside, Scioscia said the players also need to get a renewed feel for one another, something he's confident can happen if they can get together by the end of the week.

"We usually put them together for the last eight to 10 games," he said. "They go out there and play every day and start playing deeper into games. And we definitely see some chemistry that starts to form."

Footloose

Catcher Mike Napoli played four innings in the camp game to work on the defensive part of his game, especially throwing. And the results were mixed, with Napoli gunning down one runner but throwing the ball into center field for an error another time.

Napoli had failed to catch any of the first 12 runners who attempted to steal against him this spring.

Familiar face

Former Angel Justin Speier pitching a scoreless ninth against his old team, earning the win and lowering his spring ERA in 3.86 in seven appearances. That also boosted his chances of making the Rockies' roster after signing a minor league contract last February. And given their druthers, the Angels would just as soon have Speier stick with Colorado.

If he does, the Rockies would have to pay the right-hander the major league minimum salary of $400,000, which the Angels could then deduct from the $5.25 million they still owe him.

For Speier, who has pitched for seven teams in his career, seeing the Angels again was nice — but not unusual.

"I'm totally used to that. I've been on a lot of different teams and I've faced all my old teammates," said Speier, who was released last August after going 8-13 with a 4.39 ERA in parts of three seasons in Anaheim. "But it's always nice to see those guys, say hi to them. I like to face my old teammates."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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