2/22/2014 4:12 P.M. ET
Salas feels at home in Angels clubhouse
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- If reliever Fernando Salas looks at home in the Angels clubhouse, it's because he practically is.
"I'm from Sonora, Mexico, very close to here and this is just like being at home with temperature, scenery and everything," Salas said. "The biggest advantage of being here is that my family is so close and can come see anytime they want. It was not always like that. I'm very happy to be here."
Salas, who was acquired along with David Freese from St. Louis for outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk in November, went 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 28 innings for the Cardinals last season. He also missed 33 games while on the disabled list because of irritation in his right shoulder.
"I know this is a good team with good pitching, so I'll pitch anywhere they want me to pitch," Salas said. "I'm healthy and that's really important right now. I've been working hard to show what I have."
Salas said he stayed sharp during the offseason by pitching in 11 games for Hermosillo Naranjeros in the Mexican League. Salas' Naranjeros won the Mexican League title last month and the Caribbean Series championship in Venezuela in early February.
"I really wanted to be there and I'm happy Hermosillo won, but I had to get ready for the season here so I couldn't make it to the Caribbean Series," Salas said. "I'm on a new team and I wanted to be ready. It was also important to spend as much time with my family as I could before Spring Training started."
Pena focused on earning spot with Angels
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Carlos Pena has already made quite an impression in Angels' camp, but the veteran infielder still has plenty of work to do if hopes to break camp with the club at the end of March.
"He's really working hard and you can see the nature of how he can play first base from the defensive end, and I know he's working on some minor adjustments on what his approach is to the plate," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has big power and he's still strong. Hopefully, he's going to make those adjustments and compete for a spot."
Pena signed a Minor League deal with the Angels last month and is competing for a spot on the bench with Ian Stewart, John McDonald, Brennan Boesch and Chad Tracy. Pena knows he could serve as Albert Pujols' backup at first base, occasionally start at the position and also pinch-hit against righties for the Angels, but he's not thinking too far ahead.
"I don't occupy my mind with those things at all," he said. "I'm more about being engaged in what is going on and just taking it all in, instead of making formulas of where I would fit because that will take care of itself."
Pena, 35, signed a one-year, $2.9 million contract with the Astros last offseason and was released on July 31 after hitting .209 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 85 games. He later signed with the Royals, but had a season-ending appendectomy in mid-September.
"I just want to be fully engaged in all of my workouts and practices and contribute as much as I can anytime I get an opportunity," Pena said. "That's what I keep my eyes [on]. I feel great and like I have an extra bounce in my step. I'm really enjoying that."
For his career, Pena has a .233 batting average with 285 home runs, 816 RBIs and a .465 slugging percentage with eight teams in parts of 13 seasons.
"This is the team that I felt was right for me," he said. "When I saw the Angels were one of the options, I knew that's where I wanted to go and I dove right in."
Skaggs feeling good after throwing live BP
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Fourteen pitchers, including Joe Blanton, Dane De La Rosa, Ernesto Frieri, Fernando Salas, Tyler Skaggs and C.J. Wilson, faced hitters for the first time during live batting practice on Saturday morning in the lower fields at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Few felt better about their pitching session than Skaggs.
"I kind of went back to my old mechanics and everything felt really good," Skaggs said. "The curveball was there and the fastball was really jumping out of my hand today."
Skaggs, who was acquired from the D-backs as part of three-team deal that also brought in Hector Santiago from the White Sox , said he altered his pitching mechanics last year while with Arizona. He's gone back to slowing down the tempo during his windup and lengthening his stride in his delivery.
"It's also a little less herky-jerky," Skaggs said. "And the longer stride allows me to get a little bit more velocity and that helps everything else out. I'm a lot more comfortable."
Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, and David Freese faced Skaggs during the live batting practice session. All three offered the young pitcher encouraging words after he walked off the mound.
"It was kind of surreal because you grow up watching [Pujols]," Skaggs said. "For him to be a good teammate and come and say that you did a good job is huge because he doesn't have to do that. But I did feel bad that he fouled a curveball off of his foot."
Jimenez reports to camp following visa issue
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Infielder Luis Jimenez, who was delayed in the Dominican Republic because of a visa issue, reported to camp on Saturday and is ready to compete for a job.
Jimenez, 26, played in 34 games for the Angels in 2013. He didn't play winter ball because of a right shoulder injury he sustained last September.
"We want to make sure his shoulder is locked in. He feels really good right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We want to get him acclimated to third base, but he's going to have to play first and we'll also look at him in the middle infield to see if his versatility is something that can work in his favor."