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SPORTS
March 23, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. — With a fastball he can dial up to 97 mph, a big overhand curve and a sharp-breaking slider, Garrett Richards has the kind of electric stuff to average at least one strikeout an inning. But the less the 25-year-old right-hander tries to blow pitches by hitters, the better he seems to do. Richards threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 5-2 exhibition victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, giving up three hits, walking three and striking out two. Of the 19 outs he recorded, 13 came on ground balls.
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SPORTS
April 14, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
Ernesto Frieri felt as though John Jaso was late on his fastball, so with a 1-and-2 count and a runner aboard in the top of the ninth inning Monday night, the Angels closer, on to protect a one-run lead, tried to throw a two-seam fastball down and away to the left-handed hitter. Instead, the pitch was up and in, and for Angels fans who have followed Jaso during his five-year career with Tampa Bay, Seattle and now Oakland, they could almost predict what happened next. Jaso crushed a pinch-hit, two-run homer well beyond the high wall in right-center field to lift the Athletics to a 3-2 victory in Angel Stadium and spoil a night in which Angels left-hander Hector Santiago threw seven superb one-run, five-hit innings and Albert Pujols hit his 496th home run and a run-scoring single.
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SPORTS
April 3, 2013 | By Mike DiGiovanna
CINCINNATI - Ernesto Frieri spent seven weeks working on a second pitch to go with his lively 95-mph fastball, and he gained enough confidence in a changeup and cut fastball that, by the end of spring training, he said he was ready to take both into the season. So what happened when the right-hander was summoned for his first save opportunity, in the 13th inning of Monday's opener against the Cincinnati Reds? He fell back on the familiar, using his fastball on 16 of 18 pitches - the other two were sliders - while preserving a 3-1 victory.
SPORTS
April 10, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
SEATTLE -- It appears that Ernesto Frieri is no longer a one-pitch pitcher. The Angels closer started Corey Hart with a slider for a called strike and then struck out the Seattle slugger looking at a slider Wednesday night, part of a scoreless ninth inning that secured his first save and a 2-0 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field. “All the hitters pretty much cheated on me -- they knew the fastball was coming,” Frieri said. “It's time for me to start pitching, moving hitters' feet, using my secondary pitches.
SPORTS
April 22, 2012 | By Lance Pugmire
After a weekend of strong starts by Jerome Williams , Jered Weaver and Dan Haren , good-spirited Angels pitcher Ervin Santana wants to join in. Now if he can only locate his fastball. Santana (0-3 with a 6.75 earned-run average through three starts) has given up three runs in the first innings of each of his starts and been struck for six home runs in less than 19 innings of work. "The location of the fastball — that's why we have bullpen sessions — I need to keep it down and control it," Santana said.
SPORTS
March 7, 2013 | By Mike DiGiovanna
PEORIA, Ariz. — Ernesto Frieri came to spring training hoping to add an effective second pitch to go with the lively 95-mph fastball that thrust the 27-year-old right-hander into a closing role last season. He may leave Arizona with two new pitches. Frieri has been very happy with the development of his cut fastball, which is coming out of his hand like his fastball and breaking late. He has been pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of his changeup, a pitch he started toying with in early February but has used in two of three exhibitions.
SPORTS
March 15, 2014 | By Dylan Hernandez
PHOENIX - Fernando Valenzuela smiled Saturday night as he recalled what he saw several hours earlier. On the eve of the Dodgers' departure for Australia, 17-year-old Julio Urias became the story of the day by pitching a perfect first inning in the opening game of a doubleheader, a 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres. Armed with a fastball clocked as high as 97 mph, Urias struck out two of the three batters he faced. Because of his background, Urias figures to be compared to Valenzuela the way Clayton Kershaw has been compared to Sandy Koufax.
SPORTS
March 8, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
PHOENIX - Gunslingers don't smile, they scowl. Yet, there was Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett standing in front of his spring training locker, his face creased with a grin. Baseball's version of Billy the Kid had become a warm and fuzzy pacifist. "I think we all go through that transition at some point," said Beckett, once a cocky, hard-throwing intimidator but now a wizened, wily veteran. "When your stuff changes you have to react to it. There's nothing you can do. You have to make adjustments.
SPORTS
April 14, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
Ernesto Frieri felt as though John Jaso was late on his fastball, so with a 1-and-2 count and a runner aboard in the top of the ninth inning Monday night, the Angels closer, on to protect a one-run lead, tried to throw a two-seam fastball down and away to the left-handed hitter. Instead, the pitch was up and in, and for Angels fans who have followed Jaso during his five-year career with Tampa Bay, Seattle and now Oakland, they could almost predict what happened next. Jaso crushed a pinch-hit, two-run homer well beyond the high wall in right-center field to lift the Athletics to a 3-2 victory in Angel Stadium and spoil a night in which Angels left-hander Hector Santiago threw seven superb one-run, five-hit innings and Albert Pujols hit his 496th home run and a run-scoring single.
SPORTS
September 3, 2004
"If you told every hitter each pitch would be a fastball down the middle, you wouldn't get a score like that." Derek Jeter, New York shortstop, on the Yankees' 22-0 loss to Cleveland
SPORTS
March 23, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. — With a fastball he can dial up to 97 mph, a big overhand curve and a sharp-breaking slider, Garrett Richards has the kind of electric stuff to average at least one strikeout an inning. But the less the 25-year-old right-hander tries to blow pitches by hitters, the better he seems to do. Richards threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 5-2 exhibition victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, giving up three hits, walking three and striking out two. Of the 19 outs he recorded, 13 came on ground balls.
SPORTS
March 15, 2014 | By Dylan Hernandez
PHOENIX - Fernando Valenzuela smiled Saturday night as he recalled what he saw several hours earlier. On the eve of the Dodgers' departure for Australia, 17-year-old Julio Urias became the story of the day by pitching a perfect first inning in the opening game of a doubleheader, a 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres. Armed with a fastball clocked as high as 97 mph, Urias struck out two of the three batters he faced. Because of his background, Urias figures to be compared to Valenzuela the way Clayton Kershaw has been compared to Sandy Koufax.
SPORTS
March 4, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. - Mike Trout saw nothing but fastballs in two at-bats against Texas ace Yu Darvish on Tuesday. They might be the last fastballs the Angels center fielder sees from the Rangers right-hander this season. Trout, who lined out to left field and singled to right against Darvish in a 7-4 Angels victory, has a .321 career average (nine for 28) with four home runs and six runs batted in against Darvish. The four homers are the most by any opposing player against Darvish.
SPORTS
February 23, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz.  - No one in camp is comparing Kevin Jepsen to sidearm-throwing Joe Smith , but there is a noticeable difference in the delivery of the Angels reliever, who has gone from a straight over-the-top motion to a three-quarter-arm slot. "This off-season I thought, 'As a kid, you pick up a rock and throw it, you're going to throw your natural way,' and my natural way is down here," Jepsen said, mimicking his new motion. "Since I had shoulder surgery in 2004, I've been trying to find something that didn't hurt.
SPORTS
June 30, 2013 | By Bill Shaikin
The first fastball hit 97 mph, the second 99 mph, the fourth 101 mph. It's a little too soon to say Jose Dominguez can do for the Dodgers this year what Francisco Rodriguez did for the Angels 11 years ago, but putting a kid fireballer in your bullpen never hurts. Dominguez electrified the Dodger Stadium crowd in his major league debut Sunday, pitching a perfect eighth inning. He threw 10 fastballs, all but the first hitting at least 99 mph, and a nice selection of off-speed pitches.
SPORTS
June 15, 2013 | By Bill Shaikin
Rocket fuel Roger Clemens would have smiled at the highlights from last week's fight night at Dodger Stadium. Not at the punching and shoving, mind you, but at the first bean ball - the one that hit Yasiel Puig in the face. Puig had hit .500 in his first eight games in the major leagues, with four home runs and 10 runs batted in. The Dodgers' phenom might have been a little too comfortable for Clemens, who probably would have welcomed him to the majors by buzzing him with a fastball, high and tight.
SPORTS
April 2, 2013 | By Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
— Of all the numbers dotted on a scorecard and drizzled around its margins as opening day extended into opening night, the most compelling number for the Angels might be this one: Number of times Jered Weaver hit 90 mph: zero. There might be no pitcher in the major leagues more crucial to the fortunes of his team. There might be no radar gun readings more unsettling that the ones at Great American Ball Park on Monday, the ones that tracked Weaver's fastball most often in the range of 84-87 mph. What matters most is getting outs, and Weaver got them.
SPORTS
June 5, 2013 | By Eric Sondheimer
A fastball that touches 96 mph combined with pinpoint control could lead to right-hander Phil Bickford of Westlake Village Oaks Christian becoming a top-10 selection when the first 73 picks of Major League Baseball's amateur draft are made Thursday in Secaucus, N.J. Rounds 3 through 10 will take place Friday, followed by Rounds 11 through 40 on Saturday. The draft begins at 4 p.m. PDT. The Houston Astros have the No. 1 pick, followed by the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers have the 18th pick; the Angels' first choice comes at No. 59. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Bickford has momentum entering the draft after striking out 18 batters, including 11 in a row, Saturday night when Oaks Christian won the Southern Section Division 4 championship with a 4-0 victory over Pico Rivera El Rancho.
SCIENCE
May 10, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Swing, batter, batter! In less time than it takes to say that phrase, Major League Baseball sluggers have their bat across the plate, and the best of them are golfing the shot over the outfield wall. How does the brain "know" when to swing? Researchers at UC Berkeley believe they've found the internal architecture that lets a batter get ahead of the fastball, and allows the rest of us to pour a beer and find our seat in the stands. They pinpointed a region of the brain's middle temporal complex that can "predict" spatial position ahead of its actual location in the real world.
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