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.