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Angels give Joe Blanton a showcase start Saturday

BaseballMajor League BaseballSportsLos Angeles AngelsDane De La RosaMike SciosciaHector Santiago

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels Manager Mike Scioscia will get an in-person look at Joe Blanton on Saturday. So will scouts from opposing teams.

Blanton will start Saturday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Angels have shifted Hector Santiago, the scheduled starter, to a minor league exhibition game.

The Angels did not project Blanton on their 25-man roster when spring training opened. In the wake of injuries to relievers Sean Burnett and Dane De La Rosa, they appear to be considering whether to keep Blanton as a sixth starter -- in an organization perilously thin in starting pitching depth -- and long reliever.

"We've answered a crazy number of questions about our No. 6 starter," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "That's a question everybody else in the league has to answer too."

Blanton has started three games this spring, all in split-squad games that Scioscia did not attend. In his last two starts, Blanton has given up three runs and five hits in 10 1/3 innings.

"Any pitchers who are throwing the ball well, there are roles for them on our team," Scioscia said. "We’ll see where Joe fits in."

Blanton, 33, was 2-14 with a 6.04 earned-run average last season. The Angels owe him $8.5 million.

They would be happy to trade him to a team with a last-minute need for a veteran starter -- and absorb most of that salary -- if they could get a decent prospect in return.

"If the best 25-man roster we can have has Joe Blanton on it, then he will be," Dipoto said. "If that's not the case, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

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