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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Trevor Bell is slated to start the Angels' Cactus League opener Saturday against the Dodgers in Tempe Diablo Stadium. The 24-year-old Valley native, who spent three months with the club last season and went 2-5 in 25 appearances, drew the assignment to keep members of the projected starting rotation on their schedules.
"This will keep everyone where they need to be," said manager Mike Scioscia. "We'll give them all enough prep time leading up to their first outings. A couple of the pitchers will have seven outings, most will have six, but they'll all definitely be where they need to be when we open the season."
Bell is scheduled to be followed to the mound by Michael Kohn, Anthony Ortega, Matt Meyer, Eric Junge and Garrett Richards.
But will it be the mound in Tempe Diablo Stadium, or in a bullpen? Rainstorms, in addition to dipping temperatures, are forecast for the weekend. If bad weather is to come, let it come now, Scioscia implied.
"The main concern with rain is pitchers getting their work. Early on, we can simulate what they need to do here," Scioscia said. "Later, it becomes more of a chore because of a [pitchers'] schedule that has to be kept. There is enough flexibility in [pitching coach Mike Butcher's] planning to absorb a guy not getting his full workout in one time."
Izturis to have key to unlocking offense
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' Mad Scientist will be hard at work in his laboratory for the next month. Manager Mike Scioscia will be mixing and stirring his test tubes, trying to concoct the best potion/lineup for his creative and aggressive offense.
It figures to be an ongoing process well into the regular season -- although Scioscia would rather not approach the 133 different lineups injuries and slumps forced him into in 2010. But it will certainly be dynamic, early indication of which is that a projected Opening Day lineup is topped by an intended utility man.
Make that Utility man, Esq.: Maicer Izturis is considered by the manager as a key to unlocking an offense that too often locked up on the Angels last season. Only, Izturis will turn that key all over the infield.
Scioscia's lineup "template" for March 31 in Kansas City has Izturis leading off and playing third base.
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"But will he start more games at third than anybody else? No," Scioscia said. "Izzy will be a primary player at three different positions. We'll have an opportunity to give [second baseman] Howie [Kendrick] and [shortstop] Erick [Aybar] breathers when Albert Callaspo is at third. So if Izzy plays 100 games, it might be 30-30-40. It's something we'll be looking at every day."
Callaspo, an original Angels prospect whom the club reacquired last July 22 from the Royals for righty Sean O'Sullivan and Minor League left-hander Will Smith, is expected to be the quasi-regular at third base. But the presence of Callaspo, who was acquired during one of Izturis' three disabled-list stints, creates a bit of a mash-up to Scioscia's "lineup depth." The two are similar players, with Izturis having better speed and a reputation as a better defensive player.
Scioscia does not view any of this as a quandary. He values Izturis more as someone able to handle any of the infield positions, without a drop either in defense or in his own knack for igniting an offense. That has been Izturis' role since coming to the Angels in 2005 -- he has started 100-plus games at each of the positions.
But Izturis' foremost assignment this season will be to recapture his 2009 impact. In a career-most 114 games that season, he batted .300 and scored 74 runs, helped by an on-base percentage of .359. In-between his disablements, those numbers last season were down to .250, 27 and .321.
In 2009, the Angels ranked second in the American League with 883 runs scored. In 2010, the Angels were ninth in the league with 681 runs. Much of that drop of 200-plus was traceable to Izturis' absence at the throttle.
"We talk about keys to the offense, and a lot of that gets back to Izzy, for good reason," Scioscia said.
The rest of Scioscia's Opening Day template:
Bobby Abreu, DH; Torii Hunter, RF; Kendry Morales, 1B; Vernon Wells, LF; Kendrick, 2B; Aybar, SS; Jeff Mathis, C; Peter Bourjos, CF.
FanFest returns to Angel Stadium on March 27
TEMPE, Ariz. -- FanFest, the interactive experience that whets fans' appetites for the fast-approaching regular season, will return to Angel Stadium on March 27 after a three-year absence.
The $5 admission to FanFest will include a ticket to that afternoon's 2 p.m. PT exhibition game against the Padres, while supplies last.
Scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and also featuring the Angels 5K & Fun Run along with a variety of attractions and activities, this will be the club's first FanFest since February 2007.
The activities will include autograph opportunities with Angels players, a Rally Monkey photo booth, sale and auction of Angels memorabilia and merchandise, main-stage attractions including live music, and carnival rides.
Anel De Los Santos, one of the non-roster catchers in camp, suffered a jammed left thumb Wednesday when he slipped on the field and tried to break his fall. De Los Santos was being examined on Thursday, but meanwhile the Angels signed Minor League catcher Cole Armstrong to help with the workload. Armstrong, 27, is an eight-year Minor League veteran who last season played Double-A ball at Birmingham in the White Sox chain.