Mark Lowe had a 3.43 ERA in 36 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers last season. (Associated Press)
The Angels are bringing 20 position players and 15 pitchers to the Freeway Series. One name on the list stands out.
Mark Lowe signed a minor-league contract this morning after being cut by the Dodgers on Sunday. Lowe, a XX(B) free agent, finished last season on the Texas Rangers’ roster and had until Tuesday before the Dodgers had to decide to keep or cut him. Coincidentally, the Angels’ final four exhibition games are against either the Rangers or Dodgers.
Lowe, 29, has pitched in parts of seven major-league seasons for the Rangers and Mariners. The right-hander posted a 4.15 ERA in nine Cactus League appearances with the Dodgers (four earned runs in 8 ⅔ innings) while walking three and striking out six. With David Carpenter struggling (5.91 ERA in 12 appearances), Lowe stands a decent chance of making the team. The Angels have four open spots on the 40-man roster.
The other name on the list that seems out of place is Austin Wood, but he’ll probably only get on the mound in case of an emergency. The 22-year-old right-hander finished last season at Low-A Cedar Rapids.
Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton watches his two-run home run in the first inning of a spring baseball game against the Dodgers at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Friday, March 1, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. The Angels won 16-8. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)
It took three and a half hours, but it happened: The Angels won a game.
They scored in mind-numbing fashion, piling on former Angel Matt Palmer (two-thirds of an inning, seven runs) and former Mariner Sean White (two-thirds of an inning, five runs) for 11 unearned runs on four Dodger errors.
The quality of play didn’t make the game come alive, but a standing-room only crowd of 6,744 did. They got their money’s worth. Jered Weaver made his long-awaited debut and a patient Josh Hamilton belted his first home run. And the Angels won.
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:
Mike Scioscia didn’t single out those starters by name, but the Angels’ manager did rule out his projected five starters from pitching in games for at least another week. The Angels open Cactus League play with split-squad games Saturday against the Cubs and Giants.
“The guys that we’re looking at, especially Weave [Jered Weaver], he doesn’t need to get started until somewhere around the first” of March, Scioscia said. “It would just be too long for him. He wouldn’t need it.”