Santana gets the call

In what might come as not the best news to many Angels fans, Ervin Santana will be recalled tomorrow (Friday) and start in the second game of the doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. That is right, even though 15-game winner John Lackey wanted to start Game 2, Santana will get it instead and be matched up against 15-game winner Josh Beckett. Lackey will start in Game 1 instead. Santana was 2-1 at Triple-A Salt Lake with a 5.01 ERA over five starts. Santana was 5-11 with a 6.22 ERA for the Angels earlier this season. He was just 1-9 on the road with an 8.79 ERA.

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Room with a view

Checked in last night to the hotel that is connected to the Rogers Centre (formerly the Skydome) and I was upgraded to a suite with a view of the field. (Note to management back home: this was a free upgrade. I swear.) Anyway, there are a few oddities that occur when your only window faces into a domed stadium.

First of all, there is no sunlight that leaks into your room to let you know the day has arrived. The only light that peeks around your curtains is the stadium lighting that was there when you went to bed. When you wake up and the alarm clock says 8:00, you pray that is 8:00 a.m. and the fourth inning of the game you are supposed to be covering isn’t unfolding just outside. So far so good on that note.

Second, you have no idea what the weather is like for your walk to lunch. Do I need my sunglasses? A raincoat? If you are the kind of person who needs to look outside before starting your day, don’t take the room with the ballpark view. It’s like owning a home inside a warehouse. Odd.

There is one cool perk to staying at the ballpark hotel, though. There is a secret elevator that takes you straight down to the field level and drops you off behind the left field wall. It has a Bat Cave feel about it. But if you find it one day and get caught, don’t let anybody know I told you about it.

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Willits, Izturis get freeway scare

Reggie Willits said he saw his life flash before his eyes Saturday afternoon as he returned to Anaheim from a youth clinic in Chino Hills.
Angels community relations manager Matt Bennett was driving Willits, Maicer Izturis and bullpen catcher Steve Soliz on the freeway when a truck in a neighboring lane kicked up a long sheet of metal. The piece of metal slammed into the windshield, causing it to shatter in a web-like pattern. Despite cracking, the windshield still held together.
Willits said he was in the passenger seat while Izturis and Soliz rode in the back.
My heart was racing, Willits said. If that thing comes through (the windshield) we’re gonners. There was nothing Matt could do it happened so fast.

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Angels coming to Chino Hills

The Angels will be putting on a youth clinic Saturday at Community Park in Chino Hills (3280 Eucalyptus Ave.). The clinic runs from 10 a.m. to noon with registration starting at 9 a.m and is open for children ages 4 to 14. Angels personnel expected to participate include: Reggie Willits, Maicer Izturis, bencho coach Ron Roenicke, bullpen catcher Steve Soliz and former Angel Kevin Flora. For more information visit www.angelsbaseball.com.

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Rats for the rats

The Angels’ new nighttime cleaning crew is hard at work trying to keep down the rodent population. Angel Stadium was cited recently for a number of rodent violations so some changes were made. The biggest one is to have the cleaning crew start cleaning the stadium immediately after games instead of letting the ballpark litter sit on the ground until the morning. They are fanned out now in the upper deck at 11:55 p.m. trying to keep things clean.

One interesting story overheard today was that when Angel Stadium had been cleaned after games in the past (call it a decade ago) one newspaper called the team to ask why the stadium lights were on late at night and power was being wasted. It seems that in their new effort to save power, the rodents took over. Perhaps you can’t win. Looks like the electric bill is going to take a hit until the rat issue is solved.

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Oh Canada for Napoli

Scheduled to come off the disabled list Sunday, Mike Napoli said before Wednesday’s game that it looks like he actually will come back Tuesday when the Angels open a three-game series at Toronto. Why the delay? Napoli said he still hasn’t run at full speed but should take care of that soon. Ryan Budde, we hardle knew ye.

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Oakland can't put Mathis in foul mood

Jeff Mathis no longer is that demoralized rookie catcher who left a dreadful series in Oakland last season with his head hanging low. He returned to the Bay Area today with his confidence soaring.
During a late April series in the Athletics’ ballpark last season Mathis dropped two foul popups in one game, and during one at-bat he was called for interference while trying make contact on a hit and run.
Any time you go through a series like that you have to get something out of it and I think I did, said Mathis, choosing to look on the bright side.
Things certainly are looking much better now. Mathis guided Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey to solid starts in the first two games of the series against the Mariners and before going hitless Wednesday night, he had seven hits in his previous four games.
It’s going to relax you when you win ballgames and play well, especially as a team, Mathis said. It’s going to take some of the pressure. I’m still trying to focus on being relaxed and calm out there and just having some fun.

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Matthews matches Winfield

After a little research by the Angels media relations staff, it turns out that Gary Matthews Jr.’s four extra-base hits Tuesday night was a rare feat in team lore. The last time an Angels player had four in a game was April 13, 1991, when Dave Winfield had three home runs and a double. Matthews’ had two home runs and two doubles in Tuesday’s victory over the Seattle Mariners.

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Angels not lacking trade currency

At least one independent source has confirmed that the Angels had a bigger surplus of tradeable prospects than anybody else in baseball, yet once again the club did not part with any of that potential talent for a proven player. The Minor League News (whoever they are) just voted the Angels as their farm system of the year. And just how did they obtain this honor? Apparently they had more FAB50 picks (whatever that is) than anybody else in baseball.

Brandon Wood was considered 11th on the FAB50 list, with Nick Adenhart 20th, Terry Evans 28th and Nick Green 42. At least that’s what the Minor League News’ recent press release indicated.

So if the lack of an addition ends up hurting the Angels in a bid for their second World Series title in five years, well at least they can hoist the trophy for their farm system of the year title (does the NLN give a trophy?). Not sure many people would turn out for that parade and rally, though.

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