Angels align rotation for spring-training games

Hector Santiago to start the Angels' first spring-training game

Hector Santiago will start the Angels' Cactus League opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, and will be followed in the exhibition-season rotation by Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Matt Shoemaker, Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday.

That will align Weaver to start the April 6 season opener against the Seattle Mariners with one extra day of rest. It would be the veteran right-hander's seventh opening-day start and sixth in a row.

Scioscia said Angels starters will work on regular four days' rest in Cactus League play. That would align Wilson, Shoemaker and Santiago to follow Weaver in the regular-season rotation barring injuries.

With Garrett Richards expected to be sidelined until at least mid-April while he recovers from surgery on his left knee, newcomers Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano will battle for the fifth rotation spot.

Progress report

Richards, who ruptured the patellar tendon in the left knee while covering first base in Boston on Aug. 20, threw his sixth bullpen of the spring, throwing from a full windup and the stretch, and did some agility work off the mound, the last step before he begins fielding practice.

The hard-throwing right-hander said he had "no hesitation, no mental block" as he increased his workload, and he is pleased with how his arm has responded.

"His arm has caught up for a guy who had a later start," Scioscia said. "There's a lot that goes into a starting pitcher getting ready to pitch 200 plus innings in a season, and he's starting that progression. I think he's phasing out of rehab and more into a traditional spring."

Short hops

Scioscia said Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin, who signed for $8 million in January, could arrive in camp this weekend. He has been stuck in the Dominican Republic because of a visa issue. … Left-hander Atahualpa Severino, absent for the first two weeks of camp because of a visa issue, arrived Tuesday and joined the team for workouts Wednesday. … Most of the regulars, including Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, David Freese and Chris Iannetta, are expected to play in Thursday's exhibition opener.

Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna

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