Angels hotel must have been exorcised

Just checked out of the Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg and sadly, the report is that there were no ghost sightings. The historic hotel, where all the teams stay when playing the Devil Rays, has been known for a number of hauntings. The most common, as related by a member of the hotel staff a few years ago, is that a elderly woman appears lost at the end of a hallway in her nightclothes. When hotel guests get into their room they often call the front desk to let them know about this woman. Somebody is sent to do an obligatory check but alas, there never is a woman at the end of the hall.

About four years ago, then Reds pitcher Scott Williamson reportedly claimed that somebody pushed down on him as he was nodding off to sleep in his dark room. When he turned on the lights, nobody was there.

The only frightening scene at the hotel in the past few days was four beat writers attempting a clay court tennis match. No ghosts, though.

UPDATE: After asking around, perhaps the ghosts still are around. Pitching coach Mike Butcher said the light on his nightstand turned on by itself at 4:11 a.m. and he was unable to get back into a deep sleep before his wakeup call came.

“I thought it was kind of odd,” Butcher said. “Usually on a getaway day game I like to sleep with my curtains open and the sun comes up but I was thinking ‘Man it’s kind of early to be getting up right now.’ The Scooby Do Mystery Machine came by and they assured me everything was OK.”

Butcher brushed it off by saying he thinks the light switch just got stuck and then unstuck in the middle of the night. He doesn’t think the hotel is haunted.

In another event, one Angels official on the trip said a closed magazine was open to Page 37 at some point during the night. What was the message on Page 37? Just some restaurant reviews.

Manager Mike Scioscia had no ghost sightings on this trip but he offered a story about spring training in Vero Beach, Fla., when he played with the Dodgers. Scioscia said he saw what he thought was his mother in law enter the room of his infant son in the middle of the night. Soon after, his son stopped crying. Except Scioscia’s mother in law said she never entered the room, she only heard the boy stop crying. And how could she when the door was only open by about a foot? Scioscia swears this event truly happened.

Must be something about Florida that keeps the ghosts active.

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Shame on the Angels

Tuesday (July 24) won’t be the proudest moment in Angels history, unless Kelvim Escobar happens to pitch a no-hitter. The Angels will welcome to the ballpark a group of women (referred to in a recent news release as “girls”), who are promoting the Tom Leykis radio show. To say Leykis is demeaning toward women would be going easy on the mouth that roars incessantly. Guess the Angels are desperate to lock up that 15- to 22-year old male demographic. The Angels are promoting the next homestand as “Break Out the Red Week.” Maybe they can rename it “Red With Embarrassment Week.”

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Santana shipped to minors

The Angels finally decided enough was enough. Ervin Santana, who won 16 games a year ago, was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake Wednesday. Mike Napoli was recalled from the disabled list. An announcement on Sunday’s starter at Minnesota will be made later, but it is expected to be left-hander Joe Saunders, currently at Salt Lake. The final straw on Santana was Tuesday’s outing against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when he gave up 14 hits in the first five innings of his six-inning outing. It was just one hit off the Angels record of 15 hits in an outing. The right-hander is 5-11 with a 6.22 ERA, including a 1-9 mark on the road with an 8.79 ERA.

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Clearing up the confusion

It’s Ervin Santana on the mound tonight in Tampa Bay, not Bartolo Colon as some outlets have listed. Colon will take the mound Wednesday against the Devil Rays.

Here is a quick rundown of the lineup for Tuesday 7/17 against Devil Rays right-hander James Shields:
Reggie Willits, LF
Chone Figgins, 3B
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Vladimir Guerrero, RF
Gary Matthews CF
Garret Anderson DH
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Maicer Izturis, 2B
Jose Molina, C

Not much new there. Anderson continues to hold on to the No. 6 spot ahead of Kotchman, after batting seventh upon his return from the DL. The veteran Molina will handle Santana, who is always shaky on the road.

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Guerrero in HR field

The Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero was just named to the field of Monday’s Home Run Derby. The event, in conjuction with All-Star festivities, will take place at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. It will be the first time Guerrero has participated in the HR Derby since 2000 when All-Star events took place in Atlanta.

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Sizing up Cabrera's chances

The Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez just participated in early batting practice and didn’t seem bothered by a recent hamstring injury. Word is that A-Rod might back out of the All-Star Game because of the injury with Orlando Cabrera a possibility to assume the roster spot. But Rodriguez hit his fair share of balls beyond the wall in left and left-center field. As of now he is in the starting lineup tonight against the Angels. His performance tonight might be enough to tell if he will play for the AL in next week’s All-Star Game or if Cabrera will get the spot.

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Carrasco designated for assignment

Hector Carrasco hinted a few days ago that he thought his end with the Angels might be just around the corner. After another poor outing during the Baltimore series over the weekend, the Angels made it official today by designating the veteran reliever for assignment. They now have 10 days to trade him or release him outright. Chris Resop, who was obtained this offseason when Kevin Gregg was traded to the Florida Marlins, was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake.

Carrasco’s struggles were alarming. He allowed 17 earned runs and six home runs in his last 13 outings, posting a 9.18 ERA over that stretch.

Right now we have a good team and I’m not doing my job, Carrasco said after a rough outing Saturday, his last as an Angel. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Between last year and this year things are different and I don’t know why. I don’t blame nobody. I don’t like it when I don’t pitch for five or six days, but that’s (manager Mike Scioscia’s) decision and there’s nothing I can do. I know I have to do my job.

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Lackey, Guerrero, Rodriguez are All-Stars

The Angels’ John Lackey was named to his first All-Star squad when both the AL and NL teams were announced Sunday. Lackey is 11-5 after a victory Sunday with a 3.04 ERA. He could be in line to start the game but that announcement won’t be made until later this week.

Vladimir Guerrero (batting .328 with 14 home runs and 73 RBI) was named to his eighth All-Star team. He recieved the most votes of any player in fan balloting. Francisco Rodriguez, who earned his 24th save Sunday and has a 2.27 ERA, earned his second All-Star nod.

Orlando Cabrera not only was snubbed by not making the AL squad, he wasn’t even one of the five players up for the final roster spot. Fans can chose the final spot on the roster with an internet vote. Kelvim Escobar was named as one of the five players up for the final spot. Voting for that player can be done at mlb.com and clicking on the “Final Vote” icon.

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