Santana `right on time’

TEMPE, Ariz. — After missing a rotation turn banging his elbow against a couch, inflaming the bursa sac, Angels right-hander Ervin Santana made up for lost time on Sunday.

Throwing 84 pitches and giving himself a stamp of approval, Santana put himself on track for a start against the Twins in the third game of the season at Angel Stadium. He expects to reach 100 pitches or thereabouts in his final spring tuneup on Friday against the Dodgers in Anaheim.

“I felt good — very good stuff today,” Santana said. “Good changeup, sliders, a lot of strikes. That’s the most important thing. My velocity was very good.

“One more, and then I’m ready for the season. Right on time.”

The Angels didn’t do much right in a 15-5 pounding by the Tribe, but something to feel good about surfaced in the angular form of Santana.

He lasted 4 2/3 numbers, and the raw numbers – six hits, two walks, five earned runs – were deceiving. He was in command through three scoreless innings, and if not for a few hits finding holes and the sun blinding center fielder Torii Hunter on a lazy fly ball, he’d have escaped with a better bottom line.

“Better it happens now than in the season,” Santana said, grinning.

He felt his slider, thrown at different speeds, was especially effective combined with his lively fastball and changeup.

Manager Mike Scioscia saw nothing but encouraging signs from his 2008 All-Star right-hander.

“Ervin actually threw the ball very well,” Scioscia said. “I was excited to see the ball coming out hot like that. It matches what he had earlier in the spring. He’ll be ready to go. That was a great outing for him.”

After Santana struck out the last man he faced, Shin-soo Choo, reliever Jon Bachanov yielded a double that cashed in a pair of Santana’s runners. Matt LaPorta followed with a homer, and the Tribe was rolling.

“I feel strong,” Santana said. “I just missed a start because I hit my elbow on a couch. It happens to everybody.”

The Angels are hoping he’ll be careful sliding into couches from April through October.

Santana missed the first five weeks of the 2009 season with forearm tightness and never really found a consistent groove. His fastball was down 3-4 mph, in the low 90s. At his best, it comes in at 94-97 — red-hot out of his hand.

“Last year he never really had his good fastball,” Scioscia said. “He was a little banged up in Spring Training. He’s moved forward. The ball’s coming out of his hand hot. You saw his stuff today.”

In his first two Cactus League starts, Santana didn’t allow a run and gave up only two hits in five innings, striking out five without a walk. He pitched in a camp game before the incident with the couch.

Fernando Rodney, the new setup man, had his worst outing of the spring. The hard-throwing right-hander walked three of the five men he faced and yielded four earned runs, earning his only out with a leadoff strikeout before losing command.

“He was just yanking it, pulling it out of the zone,” Scioscia said. “He’s fine.”

Howard Kendrick slammed a two-run double in the fourth and Brandon Wood drilled a pair of hits, driving in a run for the Angels. But the offensive highlight of the day was provided by leadoff man Erick Aybar when he scored all the way from first in the third inning on Hunter’s single to right center. Aybar, who walked and singled, has reached safely in 10 of his past 15 plate appearances.

“Erick, we’ve talked about his speed,” Scioscia said. “He ran through all the bases hard. That’s part of the package Erick brings. He’s had a nice week in the leadoff position and did the job today.” – Lyle Spencer

 

7 Comments

i’m glad santana is feeling good! We’re depending on him! :D

I have a question for you Mr Spencer.. what do you think about the Angels’ rough spring training? I understand that ST records should be looked at with a grain of salt but still our record is nothing to boast about. in fact don’t you think it’s a little bit concerning :(

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

Any word on what Ervin’s velocity was at in today’s outing? That’s the thing I’m most worried about

Every other teams starters are going 6 plus innings. Stop babying these guys already. Then when August comes Mike will say they are tired. Hello they never build up any arm strength in spring training because Mike treats them like babies.

Please tell the Angel TV announcers they need to call the game, Balls & Strikes and what is going on during the game, not all this jibber jabber that they do, it is not related to the ballgame.

Really not interested in all the OLD stats they keep talking about and all the games they played in –that is history.

As of now I have the TV on and listening to the play by play on the radio.

Get with it!!!

A loyal Angel fan!!!!!

I am not alone on this — at least 3 people I spoke with feel the same way
and one of them is a 23yr. ball player.

Mr Spence- shame on you for printing more Mike speak like this

“He was a little banged up in Spring Training. He’s moved forward. The ball’s coming out of his hand hot”

Santana was NEVER banged up last year by his own admission.

Susan- the Angels have the worst announcers in MLB and its embarrassing for a big market team.

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