Saunders still trying to make a name

first_imgYou can excuse Saunders if he feels like he is in limbo this spring. As soon as Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon are healthy enough to join the rotation, the Angels are expected to send their insurance policy back to Triple-A. Weaver’s status remains up in the air, and Colon isn’t expected back until mid-summer at the earliest, even though he has been impressing manager Mike Scioscia of late with his progress in rehab. So Saunders forges on like an intern who has to return to college in the fall. “For right now, I think hopefully I have a spot,” he said. “I don’t know what Bartolo is doing or what his schedule’s like, so all the best for him. I hope he gets back healthy and see where it takes us.” For now, Saunders is aiming to be the No. 4 starter and preparing to make his season debut April 5 against the Oakland Athletics. Gary Matthews Jr. is showing that the pressure of being implicated in baseball’s latest performance-enhancing scandal might not hurt his play on the field. Matthews, named this week in an investigation of pharmacies selling human growth hormone, crushed a homer to right field. MESA, Ariz. Joe Saunders might have made a splash last season, but he still is fighting for name recognition. On a board entering the concourse at HoHoKam Park on Friday, the Angels’ starting pitcher was listed as “Jose” Saunders. The left-hander made his spring debut against the Chicago Cubs and pitched a solid two innings, allowing a home run to Matt Murton but nothing else. He gave up a walk and recorded four of his six outs on fly balls to Vladimir Guerrero in right field. “I located for the most part,” said Saunders, who had his contract renewed by the club Friday. “That one pitch to Murton I tried to go in and left it out over the plate a little bit and he hit it good. Other than that, I felt my command was pretty good, so I was pretty happy.” center_img “On the practice field he has been great,” Scioscia said. “He knows where his focus has to be and it’s good to see him come out here and play.” Despite the fact his long-toss sessions have been stalled in the 110- to 130-foot range, Weaver insists he is making progress on his sore biceps every time he throws. The biggest reason for his optimism came at the start of camp when he found out he had nothing more than tendinitis. “After I got the MRI results that were negative, it kind of kicked me in the (rear) and made me work harder to get ready,” Weaver said. With John Lackey out as the starter today because of bronchitis, Hector Carrasco will take the mound against the Colorado Rockies at Tucson. Dustin Moseley also will pitch today. Carrasco, Moseley and even Chris Bootcheck have been mentioned as possible starters if Weaver is not ready to go at the start of the season. In addition to Saunders, Weaver also had his contract renewed. The Angels also came to contract terms with nine players: Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis, Greg Jones, Dallas McPherson, Tommy Murphy, Mike Napoli, Chris Resop, Ervin Santana and Reggie Willits. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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