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Mike Scioscia calls split-squad Cactus League opener 'absurd'

February 22, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • Angels Manager Mike Scioscia
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels open Cactus League play Saturday with split-squad games, to the displeasure of Manager Mike Scioscia.

"A split-squad the first day is absurd," Scioscia said. "It just makes no sense."

With 15 teams in the Cactus League, at least one split-squad game must be scheduled each day in order for every team to play. That is imperative on weekends, when games attract the largest crowds.

From an on-field standpoint, Scioscia said he would prefer a day off, even if the Angels had to open their schedule one day earlier. The situation is exacerbated this spring, when camps opened one week earlier because of the World Baseball Classic.

The Angels are holding back their regular starting pitchers so they can prepare on a normal spring schedule, and all the minor leaguers have not yet reported to camp, so Scioscia is concerned about the domino effect of two games Saturday on the pitching staff.

"A split-squad the first day is difficult to navigate around," he said.

Jerome Williams and Brad Mills will draw the starts Saturday, with Williams at home against the Chicago Cubs and Mills on the road against the San Francisco Giants. Barry Enright, Garrett Richards, A.J. Schugel and Nick Maronde will start on the following days.

The Angels will not use any regular starters until March 1. Jered Weaver will start that day, with C.J. Wilson, Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson following in order. Scioscia said that would not necessarily be the order of the starting rotation come Opening Day.

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