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League won’t discipline Rodriguez

Times Staff Writer

Major League Baseball informed the Angels on Friday that closer Francisco Rodriguez will not face disciplinary action for supposedly doctoring baseballs, an allegation that was first made on an Internet blog written by the author of the book, “The Cheaters Guide to Baseball.”

“Bob Watson called and said there’s nothing to it, nothing to investigate,” General Manager Bill Stoneman said, referring to the executive who handles discipline for MLB. “That was it. It was a short conversation.”

The commissioner’s office received several e-mails Thursday about author Derek Zumsteg’s blog, which posted a series of television stills showing a white substance under the bill of Rodriguez’s cap and of the pitcher repeatedly tugging at his cap.

Rodriguez, Manager Mike Scioscia, pitching coach Mike Butcher and Stoneman all said the substance was powder from the rosin bag -- a legal substance -- and Watson, according to Stoneman, said, “Hey, it’s rosin.”

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Rodriguez brushed off the allegation Thursday, finding it almost laughable, but Friday, he was a little perturbed that someone had accused him of cheating.

“It’s easy for a guy sitting at his desk, watching television, to put pictures on the Internet,” Rodriguez said. “But I hope he has something better to do than to mess with people. He has no clue what he’s writing about. I don’t even know who he is.”

Zumsteg, reached by e-mail, said: “I understand where from his side it seems like he’s been singled out and persecuted for what’s a fairly common practice, and if baseball’s going to crack down on him they should certainly look around the league at other pitchers with pine tar on their hats. I brought this up as something I found interesting in connection with my work on the book, and it’s not at all personal.”

Scioscia said such allegations come with the territory.

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“You can’t control what’s out there in the media, on the Internet; it’s part of the scrutiny you live with day to day in this game,” he said. “Some things are comical, some are erroneous to the point where they do damage to a person’s reputation. But it’s all part of the microscope you’re under when you’re in this game.”

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Jered Weaver threw 77 pitches in four innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga in a rehabilitation start, afterward saying he is on track to start April 16 when the Angels play in Boston.

Weaver, out because of tendinitis, struck out five Lake Elsinore batters and threw 47 strikes, topping out at 93 mph. He gave up two hits, including a solo home run to Padres prospect Nic Crosta.

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“Everything is coming along,” Weaver said. “It’s just a matter of getting the velocity there and sustaining it for seven, eight innings.”

Weaver said he would make one more rehab start for Rancho Cucamonga before rejoining the Angels.

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The Angels were encouraged by more than Bartolo Colon’s pitching line -- four innings, one hit, five strikeouts -- in a rehab start for Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night.

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Colon, who is recovering from a rotator-cuff tear, threw 61 pitches, and Scioscia said the last 10 all were clocked in the 94-mph range, “which has always been an indicator for Bart because he usually gets stronger as the game goes on,” he said.

Colon will look to increase his pitch count to 75 in another Class-A start Tuesday night and will start for triple-A Salt Lake on April 15. Barring a setback, he could return to the Angels rotation as soon as April 20.

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Catcher Mike Napoli was feeling better Friday after being flattened Thursday by flu-like symptoms that so dehydrated him he needed several bags of intravenous fluids to treat them. Napoli worked out before the game and was expected to return to the lineup tonight.... Shea Hillenbrand, who sat out games Wednesday and Thursday because of a tight right groin, took batting practice and did some running and agility drills before Friday night’s game and could return to the lineup Sunday or Monday.

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Times staff writer Jonathan Abrams contributed to this report.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


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