Angels' Hunter gets scare from police at home
Angels nine-time Gold Glove-winning right fielder Torii Hunter returned to his Newport Beach home after Wednesday morning workouts at Dodger Stadium and settled in for a movie on the couch when he heard someone fiddling with his front door.
“I grabbed a knife and was about to start Bruce Lee-ing on whoever was there,” Hunter said.
Good thing Hunter didn’t take the steak knife outside, where police were waiting with guns drawn after the outfielder’s home alarm had accidentally been activated by a door that was opened in the house.
“They said, ‘Put your hands up!’ ” said Hunter. “I’m like, ‘Man, this is my home!’ They asked me questions about who I was. They asked me to go upstairs and get my ID. The guns were out. I was a prisoner in my own home.”
Hunter said after he handed over the identification and confirmed his middle name, “Kedar,” he told the officers he was an Angels player.
“They said they go to a lot of games, and I’m looking at them like, ‘Come on, man,’ ” Hunter said. “It was funny, but not too funny. Kind of scary. If I went outside with that knife, I might’ve died.
“But they did what they were supposed to, protected my home and did everything right. It was just an … awkward moment.”
Reliever Hisanori Takhashi gave up four hits and three runs in 1/3 of an inning Tuesday, another troubling moment for an Angels bullpen that has not silenced alarms of concern this spring.
“We can say whatever we want, we’ve got to perform,” said LaTroy Hawkins, a veteran reliever who was added along with 300-save vet Jason Isringhausen to help stabilize the bullpen.
Hawkins chalks up some of the Angels relievers’ spring issues to experimentation.
“I gave up three hits my first time out, but I was working on things,” Hawkins said. “Guys try to get ahead of hitters, and hitters know that.”
But with Isringhausen’s ERA at 12.86 and closer Jordan Walden’s at 6.75 after blowing 10 saves last season, doesn’t someone need to convey some confidence?
“It’ll be fine,” Walden said. "No worries. ... My arm feels great. Early spring was rough, but your arm gets in shape as you go on."
Scioscia said he’s confident Walden’s ability to mix in his curve with fastballs in the 90s will earn saves, and the manager has been pleased with what he’s seen from Kevin Jepsen, who’s throwing in the high 90s.
“Whenever the phone rings, I’ll be ready,” said Jepsen, whose 2011 season ended with a knee injury in July. “With the guys we’ve added in the pen -- Izzy and LaTroy have pitched about 40 years in the big leagues between them -- you sit and listen to them talking about different situations and scenarios. It helps.”
Three members of the Angels’ 2002 World Series champion team will return to Anaheim Stadium for opening ceremonies Friday.
Closer Troy Percival, outfielder Tim Salmon and infielder David Eckstein will throw out the first pitch, and a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III will be used in a flyover before the game.
C.J. Wilson will follow Friday's opening-night starter Jered Weaver, Dan Haren (Saturday) and Ervin Santana (Sunday) by starting Monday in the Angels' road opener against the Minnesota Twins.
The left-handed Wilson lowered his spring ERA to 1.11 with four shutout innings Wednesday against the Dodgers.
“Tallest to shortest,” Wilson cracked about how Scioscia set the rotation.
“We’re all similar personality types. You develop an affinity for a guy — Jered, Dan, Ervin — I pitched against them so much. In my search to get better, I’d see Jered’s great changeup, Ervin’s great slider. Dan’s real competitive. There’s a street fighter [video] game I won’t challenge [him] to, but I can beat him in ‘Words With Friends,’ so it evens out.”