Shields signs four-year extension

Scott Shields will be around much longer after he signed a four-year extension today. The Angels’ press release is copied below.

Reliever signed with Angels through 2010 season

Anaheim, CA- The Angels and Scot Shields Thursday agreed to terms on a
four-year contract through the 2010 season, in an announcement by club Vice
President and General Manager Bill Stoneman. The new agreement replaces the
one-year contract Shields signed in February of this year. With today’s
announcement, the Angels currently have nine players signed through the 2008
season and five players inked through the 2009 campaign: Garret Anderson (’08),
Vladimir Guerrero (’08), Chone Figgins (’08), Robb Quinlan (’08), Kelvim Escobar
(’09), John Lackey (’09), Justin Speier (’10), Scot Shields (’10) and Gary
Matthews Jr. (’11).

“Scot has been crucial to the success of our bullpen,” said Stoneman. “He is
one of the most reliable and resilient relievers in the game and we are thrilled
to keep him in an Angel uniform for a while “.

Shields, 31, completed the 2006 season with 7-7 record, two saves and a 2.87 ERA
(87.2 IP – 28 ER) in 74 games with the Angels. He led the Major Leagues with 31
holds. Among AL leaders, he ranked fourth in games pitched and his 74 games
ranked as the second highest in a single season in club history, behind his own
mark of 78 games set in 2005.

Over the last three seasons (2004-06), Shields has pitched 284.2 innings, most
by any reliever in the Majors. His 291 strikeouts over the same spans ranks
fourth among Major League relievers. He enters the 2007 season with 31 career
relief wins, three shy of tying the Angels’ career record of 34 by Dave LaRoche.

A native of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Shields owns a lifetime record of 35-29 with 14
saves and a 2.81 ERA in 293 games (14 starts).

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Weaver, Colon look strong

Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon both threw in minor-league games today and both were impressive. Weaver threw 46 pitches while Colon threw 29. Weaver had the better outing of the two giving up just two hits and no runs in three innings. Colon gave up two runs (one earned) in two innings.

I thought (Weaver) was terrific, manager Mike Scioscia said. He threw some good breaking balls, some good offspeed pitches. That’s a great first step. We’ll see how he comes out of it and hopefully five days later he’ll be able to increase it.

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Saunders plays numbers game

Joe Saunders pitched with jersey No. 68 for one of the last times Monday. The left-hander will be wearing No. 51 by the time the regular season starts. There was no significance to his new number other than it was lower than the one he had last year when he made his major-league debut.

Saunders’ previous numbers in college or in the minor leagues were 8, 35 and 40. He couldn’t wear No. 8 because it is too low for a pitcher and Nos. 35 (Casey Kotchman) and 40 (Bartolo Colon) are taken. Maybe the new number will help him to avoid outings like Monday’s when he gave up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in six innings. Jered Weaver also is wearing a new number this season, shedding No. 56 for 36, the same number his brother Jeff wears.

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You can't handle the truth

Not that this is breaking news, but manager Mike Scioscia is not always forthcoming when asked about the team’s plans. Take the following example from a conversation earlier today. Scioscia was asked if he will finally make it official and announce that Casey Kotchman will be his starting first baseman. Not an unreasonable question. Kotchman certainly has shown he deserves it. It’s not like he was asked how the team plans on pitching to Alex Rodriguez. Here was Scioscia’s answer on the Kotchman inquiry:

“I think that the way Casey is playing this spring, we’re very encouraged. I think that with Shea (Hillenbrand) and Q (Robb Quinlan) and Kendry (Morales), along with what Kotch has done, I feel very confident about the production we’re going to get from first base and the level of play. Right now it’s obvious Kotch is going to be a big part of that. We’re going to keep moving forward.”

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