Weaver leads Angels to shutout over Rockies

Jared Weaver started for the Angels on Friday, and allowed two hits in 2-2/3 innings against the Colorado Rockies.

(Photo courtesy of John Meurer)
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Angels’ Mike Trout comes out swinging

J.P. Hoornstra checks in from Angels Camp …

TEMPE, Ariz. >> On his first day of spring training, Angels outfielder Mike Trout identified two ways he would try to improve on his MVP season. One was to pump up his career-low 16 stolen bases; the other was to decrease his American League-leading 184 strikeouts.

Trout backed up his words in his first Cactus League game on Thursday. He swung at the first pitch he saw from Kyle Lohse and flew out to deep right-center field. He later added a generously scored infield single — not on the first pitch — to finish 1 for 2.

“I’m looking to drive the ball a little bit,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing for cutting down the strikeouts, is getting a pitch early in the zone to drive. I’ll work on it definitely this spring.

“Throughout my whole career I’ve been taking the first pitch because I like to see pitches,” Trout continued. “I like to get more comfortable throughout the game. I’m going to get ready, locked and loaded first pitch, and if it’s in the zone I’m going to take a hack at it.”

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Josh Hamilton day-to-day battle tougher with expectations that come with big money

Columnist Mark Whicker chimes in on the Josh Hamilton situation …

The pundits are trying to recalibrate the Angels’ chances in the American League West. The websites that hold everyone but themselves to a standard of behavioral perfection are doing their usual end-zone dance.

Nevertheless, there are people who actually care about Josh Hamilton and can help him. He should gather them.

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Fantasy baseball: Angels’ Trout leads list of top 10 players to pick

Fantasy Sports columnist Rudy Ropp says Mike Trout is the top player in Fantasy Baseball, who else makes his Top 10 players to grab on draft day …

It’s time to start assembling spreadsheets and draft charts, becoming familiar with all the players who changed teams in the offseason and all the youngsters poised to make a splash in the majors this season.

Who to take in the first round is the question that sets the tone for which way to go when assembling the rest of your roster, so here’s how I have the first 10 picks going:

1. Mike Trout, OF, Angels >> Despite his steals total shrinking from 49 to 33 to 16 over the past three seasons and leading the majors in striking out last year, Trout still turned in an elite fantasy season and was named AL MVP. He has arrived in camp this spring saying that he wants to cut down his strikeouts and increase his steals, and improvement in both areas would be great news to fantasy owners. Trout is as safe a pick as they come and is capable in his age-23 season of distancing himself from the pack with his five-category goodness. Projection: .305 average, 117 runs, 33 homers, 105 RBIs and 22 steals.

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