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Wilson ready to brave Minnesota elements

April 08, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson in action against the Dodgers during an exhibition game at Dodger Stadium.
Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson in action against the Dodgers during an exhibition… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

C.J. Wilson’s earned-run average in the warmth of Arizona and Dodger Stadium was 1.11 as the Angels’ $77.5-million left-handed addition to the pitching rotation cruised to a 4-0 exhibition record.

Tough, however, to simulate pitching in an icebox there.

Now, Orange County's Wilson makes his regular-season debut in the frigid conditions of early spring in Minnesota, where he’ll oppose the Twins’ Nick Blackburn Monday at Target Field.

“Nothing you can do, just adjust,” Wilson said.

The weather forecast is for clear skies, with the temperature at 49 degrees and winds at 19 mph.

“When I pitched there last year [as a Texas Ranger], it was raining and cold, the ball and guys were slipping and sliding all over the place,” Wilson said. “It affected the defense.

“That’s the downside of not having a roof. Weather all across that part of the country in April and May is unknown. I’ll just do what I have to do.”

Wilson endured the wet Minnesota conditions last June 10 by throwing seven innings, scattering eight hits with three walks in a 9-3 Texas victory.

Like Angels’ starter Dan Haren, Wilson was sensational in the spring with 21 strikeouts and five walks. Haren lost his regular-season debut Saturday.

“You have a routiune, you make it all the same,” Wilson said. “Pitching in Dodger Stadium [Wednesday], a place I had watched growing up, with a lot of friends and family in the stadium, felt like a big deal.

“You never know what’s going to happen out there, but I’ll focus on myself and my game and the scouting. All that stuff will work out.”

MORALES FINE AFTER BUSY DAY: Kendrys Morales showed with four hits on Saturday that his batting skills remain sharp nearly two years after fracturing his left ankle.

On Sunday, the Angels’ designated hitter said the full day of activity on the basepaths – he scored two runs -- passed without any lingering pain.

“All good, feels good,” Morales said in the Angels’ clubhouse, pulling a sock over his taped ankle before batting sixth in Sunday’s lineup in the finale of the season-opening series against the Kansas City Royals.

“It’s a great sign,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He ran a lot. The test is stamina. You never know when something might show up. We’ll keep him going. He’s ready to play ball.”

SAVE HIM THE SPOT: Pitcher Jerome Williams could conclude his rehabilitation from a spring-training hamstring strain Tuesday when he expects to make 90 pitches in a start for Class A Inland Empire in Lake Elsinore.

“I should be good to go,” Williams said of the open April 15 spot at Yankee Stadium for a No. 5 starter. “My stuff’s good, I’m locating where I want.”

Scioscia said the club will choose between Williams and triple-A pitcher Garrett Richards following the pitchers’ Tuesday outings.

AYBAR CAN STILL TALK DEAL: Switch-hitting shortstop Erick Aybar said he doesn’t mind the distraction of continued contract extension talks even now that the regular season has begun.

Aybar, who led the Angels in hitting suring spring, is coming off a Gold Glove season and tripled in three runs Friday, said he maintains confidence a contract extension can be struck between his agent and Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto.

Aybar would be a free agent after the season if not extended like second baseman Howie Kendrick was in the winter.

“They’re still talking, it looks good. They know I want to be here,” Aybar said Sunday. “We’re open.”

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