New left-hander Jason Vargas ‘beyond crafty’

The Angels thought enough of left-hander Jason Vargas to deal
slugging first baseman and designated hitter Kendrys Morales to the
Mariners for him over the offseason with the hopes that Vargas can
help stabilize Los Angeles’ rotation.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t seem to be concerned that
Vargas gave up 35 home runs in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field last
season, tying him for the second-most allowed in the major leagues
in 2012.

”I think there have been a lot of guys that have been terrific
pitchers that maybe have given up more home runs that you might
consider to be average and that’s not going to be the barometer by
how they’re measured,” Scioscia said Tuesday. ”The bottom line is
how effective they are and Jason’s been very effective.

”If he’s going to miss a spot and they’re going to square it
up, then so be it. I don’t think that’s going to be the barometer
by how he’s going to be evaluated. His numbers are very, very

Catcher Chris Iannetta said Vargas is ”beyond crafty.”

”You can throw a blanket around all the crafty guys,” Iannetta
said. ”There are lots of throwers these days. There are fewer guys
who really know how to pitch and he knows how to pitch. He’ll go
deep into games and keep hitters off-balance.”

The 30-year-old Vargas posted a 14-11 record and a 3.85 ERA in
2012 with Seattle.

He joins fellow newcomers Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson.

The deal took Vargas by surprise.

”We’re always the last to know,” said Vargas. ”It was a
shock. This is a team that competes every year. They’ve always had
a good lineup.”

Notes: Albert Pujols took ground balls and Josh Hamilton fly
balls Tuesday, the first workout for pitchers and catchers.
Position players are scheduled to arrive Thursday.