Kazmir sharp in spring finale, Angels win 5-1
Torii Hunter is thrilled to have spring training in his rearview
mirror, and he can’t wait to help the Los Angeles Angels rebound
from their first losing season since 2003.
Hunter went 3 for 3 with a homer and four RBIs, Howie Kendrick
doubled home a run, and the Angels wrapped up their spring training
schedule with a 5-1 victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
”I’m glad it’s over with, man. There’s no more time to waste
your hits,” Hunter said. ”We had a nice long spring, we worked
hard and we played pretty good together. Now the bell’s about to
ring on Thursday and we’re just excited to get it going.”
The Angels scored 681 runs last season, 202 fewer than the
club-record total in 2009, and their .248 team batting average was
their lowest since 1992. As a result, they finished 80-82 and the
Texas Rangers ended their run of three straight AL West titles.
”Our goal is to try to take it away from them, and I’m pretty
optimistic about it,” Hunter said. ”Last year was kind of like a
slap in the face for everybody. What we went through last year was
just not us.
”We struggled and we had injuries. We had six free agents and
four of them were key guys, and the chemistry in the clubhouse was
tinkered with a little bit. It just didn’t feel right. But this
year in spring training, we felt like the camaraderie was there.
Vernon Wells fit in right away, so I’m pretty positive going into
Hunter, who was 15 for 45 this spring with four homers and nine
RBIs, had run-scoring singles his first two times up against Hiroki
Kuroda and added a two-run homer against lefty Scott Elbert. Last
season, the four-time All-Star batted .281 with 23 homers and 90
”If you look at my track record, every year at the end of the
season my numbers have been the same. But I don’t look for
numbers,” Hunter said. ”I will never talk about numbers, man. All
I care about is the World Series.”
Scott Kazmir pitched 4 1-3 innings and allowed three hits
including a leadoff homer by Rod Barajas. The left-hander, whose
season debut is scheduled for Sunday at Kansas City, was 1-2 with a
6.65 ERA in six starts this spring. Last Thursday, he gave eight
hits and 10 runs – eight earned – against the Milwaukee Brewers in
an 11-8 loss at Tempe, Ariz.
”It was a good tuneup. I felt good out there and threw all of
my pitches,” Kazmir said. ”I just stayed focused. There’s things
that I’m trying to do to progress, and I feel like I’m on track. I
felt like all of these starts were really little stepping
Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda gave up three runs and seven
hits over four innings in a tuneup for his debut Sunday against San
Francisco. The loss made him 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA in six spring
The Halos completed a two-game sweep of their Freeway Series
appetizer. The teams are scheduled for a three-game series June
24-26 at Dodger Stadium and three more July 1-3 at the Big A.
The Angels will open the season Thursday in Kansas City, and
their home opener is April 8 against Toronto. New left fielder
Vernon Wells will face the team he spent his first 12 big league
seasons with before he was traded to the Angels on Jan. 21 for Mike
Napoli and Juan Rivera.
The Dodgers conclude their exhibition schedule Wednesday night
against Seattle at Chavez Ravine before opening their first season
under manager Don Mattingly with a nationally televised home game
Thursday night against the World Series champion Giants.
”It’s a new year, that’s for sure,” Mattingly said. ”To be
honest, every club in baseball right now has got a good attitude
and feels pretty good about their team and all that stuff. Last
year is over and it was a learning experience for the whole team.
We went home over the winter and came back with a new outlook. All
signs and indications up to this point have shown that.”
Notes: Dodgers head trainer Stan Conte was not with the team,
having spent Tuesday in San Francisco testifying in Barry Bonds’
perjury trial. The former Giants slugger is charged with lying to a
grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing
drugs. Conte, the Giants’ head trainer during seven of his 15 years
with them, gave detailed and damaging accounts of Bonds’ daily
activities with his personal trainers, Greg Anderson and Harvey
Shields – whom Conte had attempted to ban from the clubhouse.