TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout hit his fourth spring homer for the Los Angeles Angels while rookie Joc Pederson hit his fifth home run that helped the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-4 win Saturday.

Trout's homer off reliever Dustin McGowan carried to the deepest part of the berm in left-center field. Erick Aybar hit his first spring homer, connecting against Dodgers starter David Huff.

Pederson and Alex Guerrero homered off Angels starter Matt Shoemaker. Guerrero was robbed of an extra-base hit on a brilliant, leaping catch by Trout against the center-field wall.

Shoemaker, 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 2014, was hit hard early and gave up five hits and four earned runs in six innings.

Huff went 3 1/3 innings and allowed six hits and a run.

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D-Backs' Bradley sharp, Angels' Wilson roughed up

March, 27, 2015
Mar 27

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona rookie Archie Bradley pitched five solid innings while C.J. Wilson struggled as the split-squad Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-2 Friday.

Bradley, a candidate to make the rotation out of spring, lowered his spring ERA to 2.20 after allowing one run and six hits.

Bradley was the Diamondbacks' top pick in the 2011 draft. He made his third spring start and fifth appearance overall.

Wilson allowed nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He gave up five runs, with only one earned.

The Diamondbacks scored five times in the second inning, a lot of it because of shoddy defense. Nick Evans reached on an infield single off the glove of third baseman Kyle Kubitza and moved to third on a walk and shortstop Erick Aybar's error. Kubitza also made an error in the inning.

A.J. Pollock hit a two-run single, Wilson walked a batter and Tomas Yasmany reached when a short fly ball to right field fell between two defenders for another run.

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Angels 2B decision made? 

March, 27, 2015
Mar 27
In his four seasons with the Kansas City Royals, second baseman Johnny Giavotella was barely able to stay on the big league roster, averaging just over 30 games per year for the team. Now attempting to make the Los Angeles Angels, a change of scenery seems to have done the trick.

BBTN 100: Top 10 first basemen

March, 27, 2015
Mar 27

Who are the best players in Major League Baseball heading into the 2015 season?

ESPN formed a panel of MLB writers, analysts and contributors to rank the top 100. We'll run through the top-10 lists at every position each day and unveil the top 25 Tuesday with a special edition of "Baseball Tonight" (8 ET, ESPN2 & WatchESPN).

The results will be announced on ESPN.com, Facebook (ESPN Baseball Tonight) and Twitter (@BBTN). Fans can use the hashtag #BBTN100 to join the discussion and follow along.

To compile the top 100, we polled more than 60 ESPN experts in February and March, starting with a list of more than 300 players. Using a 0-to-10 scale, they evaluated the players based only on how well they will perform in 2015. Players expected to miss 2015 with an injury were not included.

Miguel Cabrera remains on top at first, but for how much longer with a number of young sluggers right behind him?

Three players dropped out of last year's top 10 -- Joe Mauer, Chris Davis, Allen Craig. Check out the list below to see who jumped into the top 10 for 2015.

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Pujols hits 3-run homer, Angels beat Cubs 8-4

March, 26, 2015
Mar 26

MESA, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer and Jered Weaver struck out eight as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago Cubs 8-4 Thursday.

Cubs left-hander Travis Wood homered off Weaver leading off the fifth as a pinch hitter. Wood hit three homers last season. He pitched Wednesday.

Weaver gave up four runs -- three earned -- and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Mike Olt hit a two-run homer and a triple for the Cubs.

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Matt Joyce hit his first spring homer and Los Angeles Angels starter Nick Tropeano took a step forward in his quest for a rotation spot, leading Los Angeles to a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Indians.

In his second spring start and third appearances, Tropeano allowed two hits and three runs -- none earned -- in four innings. He's one of several candidates hoping to break camp in the Angels' starting rotation.

Tropeano retired nine of the first 10 batters, allowing only a walk through three innings.

He ran into trouble in the fourth, allowing a leadoff infield single to David Murphy and, after an infield error, walking Ryan Raburn to load the bases with nobody out. After an infield out, he walked Ryan Rollinger to bring in a run and then gave up a sacrifice fly to Brett Hayes, Joyce made a diving catch on in left field. Dustin Hood then drove in another run with an RBI single.

Cleveland right-hander Josh Tomlin allowed nine hits and two runs in four innings in his second Cactus League start.

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols homered and Mike Trout hit an RBI triple, but the Texas Rangers tagged Los Angeles Angels closer Huston Street for six runs Tuesday in a 15-8 victory.

Trout, last year's AL MVP, leads the Cactus League with a .462 batting average after extending his hitting streak to nine games. An avid Philadelphia Eagles fan, he chatted with Eagles coach Chip Kelly in the clubhouse after leaving the game.

Pujols, a three-time NL MVP, led off the fourth with his third home run on a 2-2 pitch from Nick Tepesch. Pujols also drove in Trout with a first-inning sacrifice fly.

Touted prospect Andrew Heaney, competing for the final spot in the Angels' rotation, gave up homers to Elvis Andrus and Adam Rosales in the fifth. Heaney could not make it out of that inning, and the left-hander's ERA is 8.36 in four starts.

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Matt ShoemakerAP Photo/Chris CarlsonMatt Shoemaker has built on his impressive rookie season with a strong spring showing so far.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona spring tour begins! I’m out of the basement and snow and cold for the next few days, breathing in that beautiful warm March desert air that says baseball. Today’s game was the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. A few notes and thoughts:

  • Matt Shoemaker was one of baseball’s biggest surprises last year, going 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA. He entered the matchup having allowed 10 hits and seven runs in seven spring training innings, but he cruised through six easy frames, retiring the first 13 batters before Mike Zunino’s one-out double on a 3-1 pitch in the fifth inning. He was so efficient that he threw 15 more pitches in the bullpen after his start to get up his pitch count for the day."It’s steps in the right direction," he said. "That’s what we’re going for. We’re here to get ready for the season. Obviously, you want to do the best you can, but spring is getting ready for that. So when you put these games together it’s huge."Asked if he held anything back against the Mariners -- their expected rival for the AL West crown and a team he may end up facing five or six times -- Shoemaker said that wasn’t a big concern. "Baseball is all about adjustments. We’re always mixing things up. We’re approaching the same game plan overall and we’ll mix different scenarios up, but we're still attacking the zone and trying to get guys out."

    Shoemaker laughed when a reporter joked about the perfect game he had going: "Yeah, I wasn't exactly nervous out there thinking about it."

  • The Angels received a double dose of good news when Garrett Richards threw 53 pitches in a minor league game in Scottsdale, allowing no hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Richards, returning from a torn patellar tendon in his left knee suffered last August, won’t be ready for the start of the season, but he said he felt good during Monday’s outing."I responded well," he said. "As I get stronger on my left leg it's going to make it easier for me to finish out over my front side, kind of tighten things up, as far as the slider being more consistent. That will come with time, but everything feels great right now. My body feels good. My arms feels good. The leg is the only thing I’m waiting on."Richards said he didn’t have any plays in the field and he threw mostly fastballs and sliders, plus a couple curveballs. "The sliders were good at times, but a little arm-side at times," he said. "The fastball is moving. It’s cutting, it’s sinking. The slider is sliding. I’m seeing the leg respond in a positive way. It’s not showing any fatigue and I’ve seen some real progress the last couple of weeks."Richards said the plan is to keep pitching on a five-day rotation and while the competitor in him would like to see action in a major league game, "the important thing is I’m getting my work in. The mature thing to do is to go into any game the same way."

    Before the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia explained the advantage of pitching Richards in a minor league game is it's a controlled environment. If, for example, he's thrown 30 pitches in an inning, they could take him and bring him back in the game to get up to his scheduled pitch count. "We know his stuff plays at the major league level, so we're not worried about him facing major league hitters," Scioscia said.

  • The Mariners didn’t bring Robinson Cano or Nelson Cruz to Tempe but did have about half a regular lineup that included Rickie Weeks, Seth Smith, Kyle Seager, Zunino, Logan Morrison and Dustin Ackley. Zunino is a guy who could be a big key to Seattle scoring more runs. The catcher has big-time power -- with 22 home runs last year -- but hit just .199 with a lowly .254 OBP, punctuated by a 158/17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Among players with at least 300 plate appearances, only four swung and missed at a higher rate than Zunino’s 19.5 percent.
  • [+] EnlargeErasmo Ramirez
    AP Photo/Chris CarlsonErasmo Ramirez has struggled and may not make the team out of spring training.

    Erasmo Ramirez started for Seattle and got knocked out in the second inning -- a four-run rally started when Willie Bloomquist booted a routine grounder. Ramirez doesn’t really have a chance to make Seattle’s team -- the rotation is full barring a couple late injuries and there’s no room in a deep bullpen -- and considering he’s out of options, he’d have to clear waivers for Seattle to send him down to Triple-A. When he first reached the majors in 2012, his fastball/changeup looked like a promising combo, but he has a 5.12 ERA over the past two seasons and has allowed 25 home runs in 147 2/3 innings pitcher. Against the Angels, he couldn’t put hitters away and got hit hard in the second. After the error, David Freese roped a 3-2 pitch into the left-field corner for a double. Erick Aybar drilled the first pitch he saw for a double off the right-field wall. Ramirez had two strikes on Johnny Giavotella, who fouled off two pitches and eventually hit a hard grounder into left field for a single. After a safety squeeze bunt and fly out, Ramirez got ahead 0-2 on Kole Calhoun but couldn't put him away before Calhoun hit a hard liner over second for an RBI single.Still, Ramirez is the kind of pitcher another team is likely to claim on waivers, a guy who doesn’t turn 25 until May and has had success at one point in the majors. The Rangers, desperate for starters, could be a possible destination.

  • Giavotella, one of several guys battling to replace Howie Kendrick at second base, went 1-for-3 and bobbled a routine grounder, although he did recover in time for the out (Seager wasn’t exactly going full-tilt down the line). Defense has always been a knock against him, a reason the Royals never gave him a full shake at second despite some nice hitting numbers in the minors. I'm still not sure the Angels’ starting second baseman is on the roster right now. Josh Rutledge (.200) has struggled at the plate. Taylor Featherston, a Rule 5 pick who has to stick on the major league roster, had 53 extra-base hits in Double-A but also hit just .260 and didn’t walk much. A guy like Aaron Hill of the Diamondbacks could be available if the Angels are willing to take on some of his salary, but maybe the minor upgrade (Hill hit just .244/.287/.367 last year) isn't worth the additional hit on payroll.
  • Mike Trout saw a lot of pitchers, got one hit, flew out 410 feet to center field and made a nice throw home on a fly ball that held Zunino at third. OK, Zunino probably wasn't tagging even if I'd been in center. Trout is hitting .486 this spring with three home runs, three stolen bases and six strikeouts in 35 at-bats. Prorated to the 602 at-bats he had last year, that’s 103 strikeouts compared to the 184 he had in 2014. We’ll see how he does when he starts facing fewer minor league pitchers but so far that has to be viewed as a good sign.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Matt Shoemaker combined with three relievers on a two-hitter, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 5-0 Monday.

Shoemaker retired his first 13 batters before Mike Zunino's fifth-inning double. Logan Morrison singled him to third, but Zunino was stranded when Shoemaker retired Willie Bloomquist on a flyout and Dustin Ackey on a popout.

Jose Alvarez, Ryan Mattheus and Cesar Ramos followed with hitless relief.

Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez gave up four runs -- two earned -- and four hits in 1 2/3 innings.

In Scottsdale, the Angels' Garrett Richards pitched four hitless innings in a minor league game against San Francisco.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner allowed only one hit, an Albert Pujols home run, over six innings, but the Los Angeles Angels rallied Sunday for a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Matt Duffy and Justin Maxwell each had a homer against Angels' starter C.J. Wilson, who allowed three hits over 4 1/3 innings, walked four and struck out two.

Scratched from two previous scheduled starts, Wilson has a 1.32 ERA over his last 34 innings pitched.

C.J. Cron doubled home a run and Efren Navarro hit an RBI single against Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt in the top of the eighth.

Sergio Romo made his third appearance, recording two outs in the ninth.

Drew Rucinski pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out five, to earn the win for the Angels.

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Cory Rasmus out 6-8 weeks

March, 21, 2015
Mar 21
[+] EnlargeAngels
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesCory Rasmus will miss six to eight weeks after surgery, the Angels announced Saturday.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Angels pitcher Cory Rasmus needs surgery for what the team calls a core injury and will be sidelined six to eight weeks.

Manager Mike Scioscia made the announcement Saturday.

Rasmus was 3-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 30 games last year, helping the Angels lead the majors with 98 wins. He made six starts after Garrett Richards was injured.

The 27-year-old righty pitched twice this spring, giving up five runs and seven hits in three innings.

Rasmus made his big league debut in 2013 with Atlanta and was traded later that season for pitcher Scott Downs.

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Weaver, Lincecum both sharp as Angels beat Giants

March, 21, 2015
Mar 21

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jered Weaver and Tim Lincecum both turned in their most impressive outings this spring as the Los Angeles Angels beat the San Francisco Giants 3-2 Saturday.

In a matchup of pitchers with seven All-Star Game appearances between them, Weaver threw 5 1/3 shutout innings. The Angels' expected opening day starter gave up four hits, struck out six and walked one.

Lincecum, who missed his last scheduled appearance because of a sore neck, allowed one run and two hits in four innings. It was his fourth spring appearance and first start.

Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner with four All-Star game appearances, gave up a leadoff double to Collin Cowgill in the first. The right-hander retired nine of his last 10 batters.

Kyle Kubitza's RBI single with one out and the bases loaded off Curtis Partch drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Los Angeles Angels hit two sets of back-to-back triples in one inning Friday night, tagging Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer during an 11-5 victory over the Indians.

Erick Aybar and C.J. Cron hit consecutive triples in the third against Bauer. Chris Iannetta had a sacrifice fly before Johnny Giavotella and Collin Cowgill followed with back-to-back triples of their own.

Iannetta hit a long home run off Bauer to start the scoring. Bauer gave up eight runs, six earned, and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.

The right-hander allowed home runs to three consecutive Chicago Cubs batters on March 10.

Hector Santiago yielded two runs in 4 1/3 innings for the Angels. Santiago left his previous start early when he was hit on the left forearm with a line drive.

Mike Trout had two singles for the Angels, who had seven extra-base hits. Giavotella and Cron also doubled.

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MLB: Hamilton decision by opener

March, 20, 2015
Mar 20

DALLAS -- Commissioner Rob Manfred says Major League Baseball expects to make a decision on possible discipline against Los Angeles Angels star Josh Hamilton by Opening Day.

Manfred said Friday that "we are working toward a result."

Hamilton has had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, and has been suspended in the past. The Angels said Hamilton met with baseball officials last month, but neither side provided details on the reason for the session.

Hamilton is recovering from shoulder surgery and his status for opening day was in jeopardy even before the meeting with MLB.

"I expect a decision before opening day. Obviously with Josh Hamilton recovering from surgery, that may give us some more time because he won't play," Manfred said.

Hamilton is going into the third season of a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels. The 33-year-old outfielder has totaled 31 homers and 123 RBIs in two injury-interrupted seasons.

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Tim Kurkjian and Curt Schilling make their picks for the best outfielders in baseball.



Jered Weaver
18 3.59 169 213
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169