The hype surrounding the Dodgers' launch of SportsNet LA — which is currently available in L.A. only to Time Warner Cable subscribers — is Topic A in local sports broadcasting. The Dodgers also are touting round-the-clock, round-the-year programming devoted to the team.
The Dodgers' partnership with Time Warner Cable leaves Fox Sports with two local channels — FSW and Prime Ticket — and one baseball team to carry the summer.
However, Fox does not plan to respond to the Dodgers' onslaught of programming with an expansion of Angels shows.
"We continue to make decisions based on what's good for the team and the fans, not as a reaction to what others are doing," said Steve Simpson, senior vice president and general manager of FSW and Prime Ticket.
Simpson declined to comment on industry research that shows ratings tend to be extremely low for most non-game programming on sports channels.
He said FSW would provide as many as 12 hours per day of Angels coverage on some days — with a live game broadcast, live pregame and postgame shows, a game replay and magazine shows.
In the last five years, FSW has expanded its Angels coverage to include 150 regular-season games (up from 128), added pregame shows home and away, introduced three magazine shows, and expanded spring broadcasts from five games to 26. Fox also produces daily Angels camp reports and promotes the team by airing them on Clippers, Kings and Ducks broadcasts.
"We're constantly working to evolve our already robust offerings," Simpson said.
Simpson met this week with Angels President John Carpino. The Angels and FSW regularly meet to discuss programming ideas, said Tim Mead, the team's vice president of communications.
"Everybody is satisfied with the product," Mead said. "No one is going to rest on laurels and say, 'This is all there is.'"
As the rotation turns
The Angels plan to use six starters in Cactus League games, Manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday. That breakdown: the projected rotation of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago, with Joe Blanton getting his innings as well.
Blanton could get a rotation spot in case of injury to one of the projected five starters, or if the Angels decide to send Skaggs or Santiago to the minor leagues. However, if the Angels do not alter their planned rotation, Blanton could be traded or released.
Scioscia, speaking generally, said the Angels were not committed to including a long reliever in the bullpen.
"You'd love to have a guy with length," he said. "We're looking for guys that are going to hold leads and help us win games.
"If we have really good arms that are getting guys out and don't have much length, I don't think that will keep them from our 'pen."
Blanton, 33, lost his starting spot last season, when he went 2-14 with a 6.04 earned-run average. The Angels owe him $8.5 million — $7.5 million in salary this year, plus $1 million for his buyout next year — and would have to absorb a significant part of that financial obligation in order to trade him.
Josh Hamilton (strained calf) is the only regular not expected to start the Cactus League opener Friday. The Angels plan for Albert Pujols to play first base, Howie Kendrick second, Erick Aybar shortstop and David Freese third, with an outfield of Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and J.B. Shuck. Chris Iannetta is set to catch, with Weaver starting. … Hamilton, expected to sit out at least two weeks, said, "I'm not disappointed or frustrated, or feeling like it's going to prevent me from playing in spring training." … MTV shot interviews with several Angels players Thursday, including Trout, who said he watches "a little" of the channel, including a show called "Ridiculousness." Said Trout: "I don't really watch too much TV."
ch too much TV."