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Ortiz Hums Along

Times Staff Writer

Aaron Sele and Jarrod Washburn are recuperating from injuries. Kevin Appier has been ineffective in his first couple of outings. John Lackey is trying to prove that he can sustain his late-year success over a full season.

For Angel starter Ramon Ortiz, the only drama this spring has been choosing a color for his new Hummer H2. The right-hander selected what looks like lemon-drop yellow.

“I don’t know how that’s going to look around the streets of Orange County,” pitching coach Bud Black said, “but it’s a vehicle.”

Ortiz looked nothing less than splendid Thursday in his third spring start, pitching four scoreless innings during the Angels’ 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The 29-year-old struck out five while giving up two hits, improving his spring earned-run average to 1.00.

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“He looked as sharp as anyone we’ve had out there this spring, as sharp as you’d expect anybody to be at this time,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I thought what was impressive was he got a lot of outs with his fastball. That’s going to be important for him.”

Ortiz said he’s not “pitching 100%" but is getting closer. “Every day is better,” he said. “Every start, better, better, better.”

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Jeff DaVanon isn’t making the Angels’ decision on a fifth outfielder any easier.

The 29-year-old San Diego native hit his second home run of the spring Thursday and is batting .318 with five runs batted in.

“They’ve told me some positive things, so that’s always encouraging,” DaVanon said. “I think I’ve done real well. I’ve never laid it out in the big leagues, but they know I can play.”

DaVanon has hit only .188 in 138 major-league at-bats but has impressed Scioscia in other ways.

“I think he’s done a terrific job with keeping himself ready,” Scioscia said. “It’s a difficult role for anyone, let alone a younger player. Over the last three years that we’ve seen him, he’s done a lot to refine his game to be more consistent.”

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Another prospect who has caught Scioscia’s attention is utilityman Adam Riggs. Though he grounded out against Jesse Orosco with runners on first and third Thursday to end the Angels’ ninth-inning comeback bid, Riggs is hitting .467 with five RBIs.

“I think he could definitely fill a role on the major league level,” Scioscia said. “Whether it’s right now or something that will open up for him in the near future, it’s tough to say.”

Riggs acknowledges that he probably won’t make the team but has relished the opportunity to again work with Scioscia and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, both of whom mentored Riggs when he was a prospect in the Dodger organization.

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Washburn, recovering from a sprained left shoulder suffered March 3, could make his next start within a week, Scioscia said .... Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels’ medical director, will examine right-hander Matt Wise’s injured elbow Saturday in Tempe. Wise suffered the injury Sunday and is no longer a candidate to make the team out of spring training.... The Angels optioned right-hander Steve Green to triple-A Salt Lake, right-hander Derrick Turnbow to double-A Arkansas and right-hander Bobby Jenks to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.


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