Dodgers 10, Angels 8: Postgame thoughts.

Howie Kendrick fell a triple short of the cycle Thursday, which would be less impressive if:

a) he hadn’t singled, doubled and homered off major-league starters Clayton Kershaw and Ted Lilly;
b) Kershaw hadn’t also struck out seven batters in three innings.

Kershaw said after the game that his location was erratic. That was never more true than when Kendrick was in the batter’s box against the two-time National League ERA champ. His fifth-inning home run against Lilly was his first of the spring and it was a bomb, landing on the top of a grassy knoll just left of center field in a deep ballpark — Camelback Ranch is 420 feet to straightaway center and Kendrick’s ball definitely traveled farther.

That was the only Angel home run of the game. Kendrick had three of the 12 hits, and nine other players had one each. Here are a few more notes:

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Angels outright reliever Bobby Cassevah to minors.

The Angels cleared a spot on their 40-man roster by outrighting right-handed reliever Bobby Cassevah on Thursday. Bobby CassevahCassevah has 72 hours to either accept his assignment to the minor-league side or become a free agent.

Cassevah appeared in one game this spring, allowing a single and walking two batters but escaping the jam Sunday against the Oakland A’s.

The assignment comes as Cassevah was hoping to move past a disappointing 2012 season. He hurt his shoulder in spring training and pitched in just four major-league games all year, walking six and surrendering four runs in five innings (7.20 ERA). At Triple-A Salt Lake, Cassevah went 4-1 with a 6.22 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, recording 10 saves in 12 opportunities.

The Angels could use Cassevah’s roster spot to acquire a player via trade or free agency, though it’s too soon to say if the Angels want to go that route. It’s also good news for 40-man roster pitchers Nick Maronde, Brandon Sisk, David Carpenter, Steven Geltz and Michael Kohn, whose chances of starting the season in the majors temporarily improve.

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Josh Hamilton seems very comfortable here. As in, ‘Here Josh, use my bat’ comfortable.

Josh Hamilton

For his first day playing a game in an Angels uniform, Josh Hamilton did not bring enough bats.

Hamilton had three bats when the day began Tuesday. He broke one in batting practice. The other two broke in the game. When he looked down to see a crack in his lumber after fouling a pitch off in the fifth inning, at least he had a contingency plan in place.

“I told (Mark Trumbo) before the game, If I break one I’m going to come and get yours,” Hamilton said.

The bat broke, and Trumbo obliged.

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Angels’ Peter Bourjos is a walking machine.

Peter Bourjos made an out Tuesday. Twice. So he’s human after all.

Equally impressive to his 1.000 on-base percentage coming into the game, three of his five times on base came as a result of walks. Peter BourjosBourjos’ .301 OBP in his first three seasons leaves something to be desired for a player with his speed. The Angels want Bourjos on the bases as much as possible.

“I think walks are just a function of good plate discipline as a player develops,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “A pitcher has to cooperate when you’re drawing a walk. You can’t just go up there and take pitches where all of a sudden you’re drawing a walk. There’s a balance of having that aggressiveness, ready to hit with an understanding of the strike zone. If a walk’s there, you’re going to embrace it and take it. I think for young players who try to force a walk you see a lot of 0-2 counts transpire.”

Scioscia has been quick to offer up Bourjos’ limited playing time last season as a crutch for a slow offensive start. So far Bourjos hasn’t needed the crutch and that may be a testament to his off-season preparation. His speed certainly hasn’t suffered.

“Peter had kind of a lost year last year on the offensive side because he didn’t get the looks that he wanted or needed,” Scioscia said, “but he kept himself sharp and he’s worked very hard in the winter to try to bring that swing that he had a couple years ago where he had a good offensive year in this game and it looks lie he’s seeing the ball very well. He’s showing some patience, he’s getting some good hitting counts. I think it is a small sample obviously, but he looks comfortable in the box now. That will hopefully push him to contribute on the offensive side because we know what an incredible defender he is.”

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Mariners 9, Angels 8: Postgame

Hank Conger

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Hours before Mike Trout singled in his first at-bat this spring, the Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder was a big hit with some kids.

Trout and teammates David Carpenter, Michael Kohn and Travis Witherspoon brought $5,000 worth of school supplies and toys Monday morning to Children First Academy, a Tempe charter school for underprivileged and homeless kids.

“After it was all over the kids ran up and gave us a big hug,” the 20-year-old Trout said. “Put a smile on my face and all the teammates that came.

“Doing stuff for the community,” Trout added, “it means a lot to me.”

A few hours later, Trout scored twice for the Angels in a 9-8 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up in the MVP voting last season also walked.

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Daily Distractions: Mike Trout is debuting for the Angels, plus links.

Big news today: Garrett Richards is making his long-awaited spring debut.

So is some kid named Trout.

The reigning American League rookie of the year and new Angels left fielder will get his first chance to call off center fielder Peter Bourjos in a few minutes against the Seattle Mariners. He’s unlikely to play the whole game, but is any player more exciting to watch for just a few innings? Even at 240 pounds?

As for Richards, it’s his first shot to prove that he belongs on the Angels’ Opening Day roster. Definitely more on the line for him today.

Here are some links from around the league:

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A’s 7, Angels 5: Postgame thoughts.

Kole Calhoun catch

Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun (56) crashes into the right field wall while leaping to catch a fly ball hit by Oakland Athletics’ Derek Norris (36) in the fifth inning of their Cactus League game at Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

There’s a pretty sweet photo gallery (albeit a little A’s-centric) from today’s 7-5 loss to the A’s in Tempe live on the website of our brother paper*, the San Jose Mercury News. Check it out here.
Of note from today’s 7-5 loss to the A’s in Tempe:

• Bill Hall played the game’s final five innings at first base. Hall has played seven different positions, including pitcher, in a pro career that began in 1998. He’s never played first base or caught. As a non-roster invitee, playing out of position is simply part of life — even for Hall. He only had two chances in the field Sunday, both routine putouts, but maintained a perfect 1.000 career fielding percentage as a first baseman.

• An educated guess: Assuming Hall can hit the ball, which hasn’t always been a safe assumption in recent years, he might only have to field the position better than Mark Trumbo to make the team.
• Mike Trout will play tomorrow, but you probably retweeted that already.  
• Non-roster invitee Matt Young went 2 for 3 against the A’s with a double. In two games he is batting 5 for 6 with a 1.833 OPS that would put him in contention for Cactus League MVP if voting began today. Fun Matt Young fact: He’s one of 512 men listed at 5 feet, 8 inches to have appeared in a major-league game between 1876 and 2012.
• From the AP: Mike Scioscia said many of his top players, specifically newcomer Josh Hamilton, would begin playing toward the middle of this week. “(Hamilton) doesn’t need 70 or 80 at-bats to be ready,” Scioscia said. “They’ll (all) be on schedule.”
• Good game for Kole Calhoun. In addition to the catch pictured above, he smacked an RBI double for his first Cactus League hit.
• View the box score here.

*I have no problem with the term “sister paper,” “sister city,” “sister company,” etc., but I’d like to submit that “brother paper” works just as well.

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Cubs 11, Angels (SS) 2: Postgame thoughts.

Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — Jerome Williams knows his place on the Los Angeles Angels’ pitching staff. His job is to be ready for any role necessary.

Making his first spring training start since 2007, Williams allowed a home run to Luis Valbuena but little else Saturday as an Angels split squad was beaten 11-2 by the Chicago Cubs.

“I got the first homer out of the way,” Williams said. “It was a curve. (Valbuena) had to go down to get it and he did.”

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Giants 4, Angels (SS) 1: Postgame thoughts.

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Although Pablo Sandoval had pretty much run out of steam by the time he got to third, Kung Fu Panda kept on chugging.

The San Francisco Giants’ hefty slugger scored the go-ahead run and maybe burned off a few ounces of flab along the way, getting the defending champions’ spring off to a rollicking start.

Ryan Vogelsong pitched two scoreless innings, Sandoval lumbered home on Jackson Williams‘ double, and the Giants opened Cactus League play with a 4-1 victory over a Los Angeles Angels split squad Saturday.

The last time Sandoval was in a major league game, he wrapped up the World Series MVP award in San Francisco’s sweep of Detroit last October. Although he played in Venezuela’s professional league this winter and will play in the World Baseball Classic soon, he acknowledges he’s a few weeks and several pounds away from recapturing his postseason form.

“It looked like home plate was running away from me,” Sandoval said.

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