03/20/2013 9:25 PM ET
Carpenter looking to nail down bullpen spot
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Exactly one week of Cactus League play remains and right-handed reliever David Carpenter is still here, looking like a favorite to land one of the last bullpen spots on the Angels' Opening Day roster.
"The longer you hang around, the more you think about, 'Oh, I can make the team,'" Carpenter said. "But I just have to keep pitching as I've been, put the decision in their hands. Hopefully it benefits me."
Carpenter hasn't allowed a run in nine of his 10 outings, putting his spring ERA at 3.38. As camp has gone by, and the list of relievers have whittled down, the 27-year-old has looked like a logical fit to help round out the Angels' 'pen to start the season.
Carpenter was up with the Angels for almost four months last year, posting a 4.76 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP in 39 2/3 innings from mid-April to early August.
If he joins a relief corps that includes Ernesto Frieri, Sean Burnett, Kevin Jepsen, Scott Downs and Jerome Williams -- and perhaps also Garrett Richards -- Carpenter would give the Angels a suitable right-handed ground-ball pitcher, at least until Ryan Madson is ready.
"I'm working not just on being down, but being down with a purpose, because I'm not going to throw a fastball by anybody," said Carpenter, who has posted a 1.90 ERA in 147 career Minor League innings. "If I let them hit it on my terms, it's going to help me out in the long run."
Pujols used to dealing with plantar fasciitis
TEMPE, Ariz. -- For most of his career, seemingly dating to 2003, Albert Pujols has played through plantar fasciitis on his left foot.
"It comes and goes," Pujols said.
And recently, as Pujols moves into the final stages of his recovery from offseason surgery on his right knee, the Angels' first baseman has dealt with a flare-up. But Pujols has played through it, like always. The 33-year-old debuted at first base on Tuesday, was in the lineup as the designated hitter on Wednesday and may return to first base on Thursday.
"It's nothing that's going to keep me out of the lineup," Pujols said, "because I've played with it the whole season before."
Plantar fasciitis manifests when the ligament that supports the arch of the foot is strained, causing pain to simply walk or stand. It never really goes away, though WebMD says 95 of 100 people who have the issue don't require the surgical procedure to cut the ligament.
Pujols, who has never gone on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis, says he's been more aggressive in treating it this spring and is now wearing orthotics, which are also good for his recovering knee.
Asked how his left foot feels while playing, Pujols said: "Sore, but nothing really dramatic where I would say, 'Man, I can't play, this is too bad.' Right now, I'm just concentrating on getting my knee strong. I can handle the plantar fasciitis."
Hall in limbo as Angels decide on his status
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Bill Hall hasn't appeared in a game in three weeks, is currently doing "zero" activity because of a left calf injury, is unsure when he can return to the field and has a contractual situation that basically forces the Angels to put him on the active roster or cut him by Tuesday.
As an XX(b) free agent, the Angels must pay Hall $100,000 to keep him in the organization but not on the 25-man roster five days prior to Opening Day. They won't do that, but a source said they'd like to release him, then sign him to a standard Minor League contract that would allow him to start the season in Triple-A.
The feeling appears to be mutual.
"It'll definitely be something I consider," Hall said. "Obviously if something different came up, I'd be a fool not to explore it. But I've loved my time here. It's a great clubhouse. Everything's going great, outside of injuries, so obviously I'd love to stay here."
Hall, the most accomplished of the non-roster invitees, is somewhat of a repetitive player on the Angels but nonetheless came into camp hoping to land a backup job. The 33-year-old was off to a good start, going 3-for-9 with four RBIs while displaying his versatility. But he suffered tightness in his right quad on Feb. 27. Then, during infield drills on March 13, just as he was inching his way back to action, he strained his left calf.
Hall said his previous quad injury is now "irrelevant." He got a platelet-rich plasma injection two days ago that has temporarily eliminated the pain of his new ailment.
"It actually feels like it's not injured right now," Hall said. "I'm obviously not going to do anything physically taxing for a few days, but as of right now, it feels great. It feels better than it did before I got injured. No pain right now, so hopefully it continues to get well and the process is a lot quicker."
• Kevin Jepsen, who hasn't appeared in a game since March 9 because of tightness in his right triceps, was slated to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and should return to game action as early as Friday. Jepsen said he no longer has pain in the area.
• Ryan Madson threw off flat ground again on Wednesday for the third straight day, and manager Mike Scioscia said he'll "hopefully get off a mound in the next day or two." Madson hasn't thrown a bullpen session since March 14 because of tightness in his surgically repaired elbow.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.