Cantu awaits roster decision
TEMPE, Ariz. — After the final out in their final Cactus League game Sunday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium, an 8-1 exhibition loss to the Chicago Cubs, Angels players deserted the clubhouse, packed bags in tow. They're off to the Southland for a three-game Freeway Series with the Dodgers that begins Monday and for opening day Friday at home against Kansas City.
Ace Jered Weaver probably will start against the Royals. Against the Cubs, in his final tuneup, Weaver gave up eight hits and three runs in six innings, with all the runs coming in his final inning.
"I feel like I'm where I need to be going into the season," said Weaver, who had an 18-8 record and a 2.41 earned-run average last season. "Obviously, some things didn't go my way that last inning, but everything feels great and ready to go."
The Angels finished Cactus League play with a 17-11-2 record.
Jorge Cantu awaits roster decision
As the Angels' roster is whittled down to 25 for opening day, 30-year-old infielder Jorge Cantu is one of a few contenders for the final spot. He has had a strong spring, but the odds were stacked against Cantu before camp began because he plays positions — first base and third base — that are stacked too.
At first base, Cantu would probably be the Angels' third choice behind Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo. At third base, he would probably be the fourth choice behind Alberto Callaspo, Trumbo and Maicer Izturis.
"People ask me why I came here, no chance to start, but this is such a championship-caliber team, all the superstars we have," Cantu, who was 11 for 43 (.256) in 22 games, said recently. "It's an amazing experience to be part of."
Cantu, who played eight seasons in the major leagues, has an opt-out clause in his contract that he can use May 1 if he's still in the minor leagues at that point.
He said he doesn't know what his chances are to make the team. Manager Mike Scioscia said that the team will wait to make a decision, but that he likes Cantu's performance this spring.
"Jorge has definitely put his best stuff on the field," Scioscia said. "We're seeing a guy who has been a clutch hitter showing he has that ability."
Cantu has long been adept at batting well with runners in scoring position. He drove in 117 runs with Tampa Bay in 2005, then a club record.
Freeway Series pitching matchups
For the Freeway Series, the Angels will send to the mound Dan Haren on Monday, Ervin Santana on Tuesday and C.J. Wilson on Wednesday. The Dodgers will counter with Jamey Wright, Aaron Harang and Nathan Eovaldi. Angels draw from the farm Scioscia said the Angels will take minor league pitchers David Carpenter, Kevin Johnson and David Pauley and outfielder Kole Calhoun to the Freeway Series.