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Angels' pitchers have been generous with runs in spring training

The Angels have the highest earned-run average of any team in baseball and have given up seven or more runs 10 times in 16 games.

March 10, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson allowed five earned runs on seven hits in three innings on Sunday.
Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson allowed five earned runs on seven hits in three… (Gregory Bull / Associated…)

SURPRISE, Ariz. — It figured to be a long spring for the Angels, who came to Arizona last month facing a franchise-record 36-game exhibition schedule.

It must be feeling a lot longer to the team's pitchers.

The Angels' spring earned-run average of 7.63 is more than a run a game higher than any team's in baseball. The 115 earned runs they have given up are 15 more than any other team, and they have given up seven or more runs 10 times in 16 games, the latest coming Sunday when starter Tommy Hanson and reliever Ernesto Frieri combined to give up 10 runs and 12 hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 17-11 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

None of that is worrisome to Manager Mike Scioscia.

"You're always trying to get results. But … you're going to judge a performance with different parameters than ERA," he said. "The body of a pitcher's work right now is whether you're going to be able to command. We're always results-oriented, but it's not …how many runs they gave up or things like that."

That's a good thing since no pitcher on the 40-man roster has given up no runs this spring and eight have ERAs of 10 or above.

Hanson's problem Sunday was fastball command, the same issue that plagued Jason Vargas in a three-inning outing Saturday in which he gave up four runs and eight hits.

"We've seen our starters get to their pitch counts," Scioscia said. "Some of the results are maybe typical for Arizona. With Jason yesterday and with Tommy today, locating the fastball was an issue and that's something that is not uncommon in spring training.

"The stuff looks good; it's just a matter of refining some stuff and putting pitches together as you get toward the season."

Country or club?

Mike Trout caused a bit of a stir when he showed up for Team USA's game in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday — mainly because he was in the stands rather than in uniform.

Trout said in January that he wouldn't play in the tournament, opting for an uninterrupted training camp instead. Because of injury and illness, Trout has never had a full spring in major league camp.

"Definitely, in the back of my head, you want to be out there with the guys," Trout said Sunday. "Compete for your country and wearing the USA jersey across your chest. It's definitely on my list to do."

But with Trout coming off one of the most spectacular rookie seasons in baseball history, Scioscia said he made the right decision to stay with his club.

"For a young player, the less distractions you can have is better," he said. "There will be a time for him to explore playing WBC. It's important for him to get in the flow of what is going to be a season under the microscope because of what he did last year."

Throwing pains

Catcher Hank Conger, who has had trouble throwing all spring, made three more throwing errors in the first five innings Sunday. But Conger, who has a team-high four errors this spring, made some amends by hitting a two-run home run.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

twitter.com/kbaxter11

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