The fifth spot in the Angels rotation will not be won or lost in one Cactus League start, so it would be unfair to put too much emphasis on what left-hander Andrew Heaney and right-hander Nick Tropeano did in their spring debuts Monday.
But Heaney's results were clearly better in a 7-5 exhibition loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark.
Heaney, acquired from the Dodgers in the Howie Kendrick trade, gave up one run and one hit, struck out three and walked two in three innings, including a one-two-three third in which he struck out Joey Votto and Chris Dominguez.
Tropeano, acquired from Houston for backup catcher Hank Conger, sandwiched a pair of one-two-three innings around a three-run fifth in which he gave up a leadoff double to Skip Schumaker, a two-run home run to Kyle Skipworth and a solo homer to Jason Bourgeois.
"For their first outing, they both did fine," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think first impressions were very good. Nick has terrific stuff. He just missed with some fastballs, and those guys crushed them. Heaney looked strong. He had a lot of life to his fastball."
Heaney, a first-round pick of the Miami Marlins in 2012, said he was a little too "amped up" in the first inning, when he gave up an infield single to Bourgeois, walked Votto and gave up a sacrifice fly to Jay Bruce.
"I was going too quick, I couldn't catch my tempo," Heaney said. "It's just so much different when you go into your first game with an umpire, fans and everything else. But the second inning was better, and I got into a groove and got comfortable in the third."
Mike Trout arrived in camp with some concern about baseball's new rule requiring hitters to keep one foot in the box between pitches. Part of his routine has been to step completely out of the box and take a few warmup swings after each pitch.
"It's definitely going to affect me," the 2014 American League most valuable player told reporters in February. "I'm going to have to change, obviously."
Through five exhibition games, the new rule hasn't disrupted Trout's rhythm at all. The center fielder is still taking a warmup swing or two after every pitch, but he's doing so with his right foot on the back line of the batter's box.
"My routine hasn't really changed," said Trout, who hit his first homer of the spring Sunday and is four for eight with three runs in four games. "It's not bothering me at all.
"You don't really know what you do until you actually go out and do it in a game. I think it's kind of funny. You catch yourself trying to keep your foot in the box, and you look kind of funny. Other than that, it's not really an issue."
Garrett Richards increased the intensity of his fielding drills to nearly full speed Monday, covering first base on double-play grounders, fielding bunts to both sides of the mound and making pickoff throws to third.
"He moved around well and looked comfortable," pitching coach Mike Butcher said. "He's not going 100%, but he's getting after it."
Scioscia said Richards, who suffered a ruptured left patellar tendon while covering first in Fenway Park last Aug. 20, still needs to build up endurance. But the manager is encouraged that Richards is not favoring his left leg in his gait.
The right-hander is scheduled to throw to hitters in a two-inning, 40-pitch simulated game Tuesday. Barring a setback, Richards will throw in the bullpen Thursday or Friday and could pitch in a Cactus League game early next week.
"Everything is in pencil now, but he's close," Scioscia said. "I think as he passes every step, that pencil becomes more like ink."