SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Albert Pujols and Mike Trout homered to back Jered Weaver and help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 Thursday.
Pujols hit his first home run of spring training in the first inning against Bruce Chen, a day after doubling twice.
”His swings have been better,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”The two swings he had yesterday against the White Sox, where he drove the ball to right-center, is a great indication. The first one today he killed to center. He just missed another one, too.”
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Pujols missed the final 62 games last season with a left foot injury.
”I think you guys are seeing a pretty healthy Albert out there,” Weaver said. ”It’s fun to see him back to moving well like that at first base. When he gets into the box he just looks way more comfortable as far as his swings and approaches go. It’s night and day from last year. We’re looking forward to seeing a healthy Albert. I’m sure he’s excited to get it going, too. You’re glad he’s on your side, that’s for sure.”
Trout hit a two-run drive in the sixth, giving him home runs in back-to-back games and four overall. Trout also doubled and is hitting .400 with 14 RBIs.
Angels: Weaver allowed two runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings with five strikeouts and no walks. He threw 77 pitches and allowed a home run to Jason Donald.
”The fastball command was great,” Weaver said. ”This is probably the best it’s been in spring. I had late-life on the two-seamer, which was good.”
Royals: Chen gave up three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings.
”I thought they were pretty decent pitches,” Chen said. ”I threw a curveball down to Pujols, and he hit it strong into center field. And I threw a changeup down to Trout, and he was still able to hit it to center field.”
MOUSTAKAS DEBUTS AT SECOND
Mike Moustakas, who has played only third base in the majors and played shortstop in high school, played his first game at second base Thursday without a glitch.
”First time I’ve seen him over there, but he’s been working all spring over there,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”It just gives us an option. We just want to look at it.”
With Omar Infante set back by a bone spur in an elbow, the Royals are looking for second base options.
”I’ve never really played on that side of the field actually,” Moustakas said. ”Never played one inning over at second.”
Angels: Right-hander Dane De La Rosa, who was removed from a March 6 game with right forearm stiffness, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday.
Royals: Infielder Danny Valencia left in the sixth inning after being hit on the left wrist by a Weaver pitch. X-rays were negative, but he has a bruise. Infante is scheduled to resume throwing Friday. Shortstop Alcides Escobar, who has shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to play Friday.
Danny Duffy, who had made 31 starts in the majors and no relief appearances, is auditioning as a bullpen candidate and pitched a scoreless inning against the Angels. ”He was OK,” Royals manager Yost said. ”He’s just getting his feet wet.”
The Royals are trying to determine whether Duffy would be better off pitching in relief in the majors or in the Triple-A Omaha rotation.
”There’s going to be a lot of debate on it if this is the right thing to do,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”The thing we need is for Danny Duffy to be a productive starter in the big leagues for us. What’s the best way to do it?”