Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, left, talks to a trainer after starting pitcher… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels can score in bunches, as they showed again Friday, when they amassed nine runs for the second straight game. The question is, will they have enough pitching to win high-scoring games?
They didn't in Friday's 13-9 loss to Kansas City, when C.J. Wilson was rocked for eight runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings, and they didn't in Thursday night's 10-9 loss to Texas, when Jerome Williams couldn't make it out of the second inning.
The Angels have a 7.26 earned-run average in 25 spring games — a full run worse than any team in baseball — and of their five starters, only Joe Blanton has had a decent spring.
Ace Jered Weaver has a 10.13 ERA in three starts. Tommy Hanson has an 8.25 ERA in four starts and was pulled from his last game after three innings because of a tight triceps. Wilson has a 7.11 ERA in four starts. Jason Vargas has a 6.00 ERA in four starts. Blanton has a 3.86 ERA in two starts.
If this were early March, there would be no reason to panic, but the season opener is nine days away. Weaver and Wilson have only one more exhibition start; Blanton, Vargas and Hanson have two more starts.
"With our rotation in particular, yes, I'm concerned," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Some guys aren't quite where they need to be. I sure hope as we get to the latter stages of our work in Arizona and into the Freeway Series, we'll see some guys come alive and repeat some pitches."
Bill Hall, a leading candidate for a utility spot until he was sidelined by the first of two leg injuries on Feb. 27, was released Friday, though he could sign another minor league deal to remain in the organization.
The Angels faced a Tuesday deadline to add Hall to the 40-man roster or pay him $100,000 to remain in the system. By releasing him before Tuesday, the Angels won't have to pay Hall $100,000.
Hall, 33, spent the first eight years of his career in Milwaukee and had his best season in 2006, when he hit .270 with 35 homers, 39 doubles and 85 runs batted in. He spent most of 2012 at triple-A Norfolk, where he hit .246 in 90 games.
Hall can play second base, third and the outfield, but he suffered a strained quadriceps in late February and a strained calf on March 13 and hasn't played in a game this month.
Scioscia confirmed that switch-hitting shortstop Erick Aybar will open the season batting second, pushing Howie Kendrick and Alberto Callaspo, the other candidates to hit between leadoff man Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, to the sixth and seventh spots in the order.
"He brings a situational component, and he runs well, so we'll see how the chemistry of the lineup flows with him there," Scioscia said of Aybar. "If one guy takes it and runs with it, great; if not, we have other options to match up."