3/16/2014 7:57 P.M. ET
Wilson feels responsibility to go deep into games
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- C.J. Wilson perpetually strives for better efficiency, and this year it may be more important than ever.
In Hector Santiago, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs, the Angels project to have three young starters who have never spent a full season in a Major League rotation. And so it'll be up to their ace, Jered Weaver, and their No. 2 starter, Wilson, to consistently pitch deep into games and not put so much of a burden on the bullpen.
"On your bad days, you have to be OK," Wilson said after being charged with four runs (two earned) while throwing 91 pitches in five-plus innings against the Mariners on Sunday. "If you're bad on your bad days, and you're like Jered and I and you're at the top of the rotation, then that hoses everybody else. So you have to be OK on your bad days. If you can get a quality start on a bad day, then that's a victory in a lot of ways."
Wilson was by far the Angels' most consistent starter last year. He's the only one who took every turn, and led the club in innings (212 1/3) and quality starts (24) while winning 17 games and posting a 3.39 ERA.
But the 33-year-old left-hander, who throws a lot of pitches with a lot of movement, has walked 3.7 batters per nine innings since becoming a starter four years ago, seventh-highest in the Majors over that span. And last year, he threw the fifth-most pitches per inning among qualified starters (17.2). In spite of all that, Wilson has managed to top 200 innings in four consecutive seasons.
But he knows he can get deeper, more consistently.
"And that's what's frustrating about today, in terms of pitch efficiency," Wilson said, referencing a two-run first inning that saw him face eight batters.
"That's why I lose sleep is those days when I don't have a good game. I don't sit there and look at the stats and say I didn't have a quality start. I think, '[Man], I didn't do the bullpen any favors. I didn't give our team what they needed today.' You learn that responsibility as a starter."
So, what's the ideal amount of innings for a starter?
"Your goal is to go out there and throw eight, realistically," Wilson said. "It's a nice, round number. Like a snowman."
Hamilton ready to make debut Monday
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton (strained left calf) felt good running the bases for the first time Saturday, plans to make his Cactus League debut Monday and is confident that two weeks of Spring Training will be enough time to be ready by Opening Day on March 31.
Asked Sunday morning about the possibility of starting the season on the disabled list in order to get more at-bats, Hamilton said: "That's not even on the table right now."
Hamilton previously said that he typically likes to get somewhere between 45 and 55 at-bats to get ready for the regular season, but he can also double up in Minor League games to do so.
Hamilton ran the bases again Sunday and approached shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice as he would in a game. The Angels' outfielder has hit live batting practice for three straight days and said he "felt totally different" on Saturday, with his timing and at-bats being a lot better.
The Angels play their third and final split squad of the spring Monday, with Hamilton slated to start at home against the Giants.
"Mentally, I feel like I'm where I need to be," Hamilton said, "because I just made the decision when I got hurt that it wasn't going to slow me down in that aspect, because I was feeling good when I got hurt. So, I've just kept that positive mental mind frame."
• Angels reliever Sean Burnett, recovering from forearm surgery in August, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session Sunday. Burnett threw his first one Thursday, though he also had a session that closely resembled a bullpen on March 9.
• The Angels handed out Minor League awards prior to Sunday's game. Outfielder Zach Borenstein (best offensive player) and shortstop Eric Stamets (best defensive player) were given the Kenny Meyers Memorial Award; reliever Michael Morin was given the Howie Gershberg Award for best pitcher; Class-A Inland Empire manager Denny Hocking was given the Preston Gomez Award for a high standard of excellence; Minor League hitting coordinator Paul Sorrento was given the Mara Forcey Award for outstanding dedication to the organization.
• The Angels recently released left-handed-pitching prospect Andrew Taylor from the organization. Taylor, 27, made three appearances as a September callup in 2012, but entered Spring Training last year with a slight tear in his labrum and missed the entire 2013 season.
• Raul Ibanez is expected to make his spring debut at first base in Monday's split squad, likely against the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz. Right fielder Kole Calhoun had his first stint at first base after Albert Pujols came out of the game Sunday.
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.