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Angels' Dan Haren gets big results in spring game

The Angels starter doesn't allow a ball to leave the infield, facing only one batter over the minimum in his three innings against the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

March 07, 2011|By Kevin Baxter

Reporting from Mesa, Ariz. — Angels pitcher Dan Haren didn't have to think long to remember the last time he was pulled from a no-hitter after just three innings.

"That's probably the longest I've ever had a no-hitter going," he joked Monday after cruising through the Chicago Cubs' lineup in a Cactus League exhibition at a windy HoHoKam Park. The Angels lost, 14-13.

In spring training, it's all about the work, not the results. But on this day Haren got both.

On the results side, he didn't allow a ball to leave the infield, facing only one batter over the minimum in his three innings.

On the work side, after walking Aramis Ramirez leading off the second, he got to practice pitching from the stretch. And he nailed that too, striking out the side.

Haren said he threw all five pitches in his repertoire but was especially happy with how his curveball was working.

"It was kind of a lost pitch for me at the end of last year," he said. "It's really come along this spring. It seems a little bit tighter.

"I don't throw 95 [mph]. I rely on moving the ball and throwing strikes. Today everything was down. And that's a focus for me every time I go out."

Fighting it out

Barring an injury or other surprise, Brandon Wood and Mark Trumbo are battling each other for what could be the final spot on the opening-day roster. And both made strong cases for themselves Monday — Trumbo by going four for four with a home run and a double and Wood with a two-run double and a score-tying ninth-inning homer.

"Mark Trumbo had great at-bats all day," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "These are pretty good pitchers and he's swinging the bat well."

Trumbo's homer, his third of the spring, was a massive blast that cleared a 40-foot scoreboard that sits atop a grass berm well beyond the left-field wall. And his sixth-inning double to center was struck even harder, hitting halfway up the batter's eye in straightaway center field then bouncing back into play.

The four hits raised Trumbo's spring average to .375 and gave him team highs for runs batted in (six), runs (six), total bases (21) and slugging percentage (.875).

Wood, who hadn't had a hit since his first spring at-bat, doubled in the third inning and then homered leading off the ninth on a 3-2 pitch. He and Trumbo were two of seven Angels to get two hits.

Medical report

Kendry Morales and Alberto Callaspo continue to make steady progress in rehabilitating their injuries.

Morales, who hasn't played since fracturing his left ankle in May, is close to supporting his full body weight while running on a treadmill. And once he can do that, he'll begin normal fielding drills at first base.

Scioscia thinks that if Morales can play within the next two weeks, he should be ready for opening day.

"We're still saying we anticipate him being ready for the start of the season if there's no setbacks," Scioscia said. "If he's in games on the 20th, that's 10 [exhibition] games he gets to play. So we're optimistic."

Callaspo, who went three for four as the designated hitter Monday, hasn't been able to play in the field this spring after showing up to camp with a sore shoulder. But he has stretched his throwing program out to 120 feet while continuing to participate in defensive drills. He could play in the field before the weekend.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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