Starters stretch their legs a bit
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia showed no leniency toward Bud Black, his former pitching coach who is in his first year as San Diego’s manager.
Scioscia played what is expected to be his opening-day lineup for six innings of the Angels’ 6-4 exhibition victory over the Padres on Wednesday. Howie Kendrick had a triple, and his run-scoring double capped a four-run sixth inning. Orlando Cabrera and Vladimir Guerrero each doubled.
“Most of these guys will be off [today], so we wanted to stretch them out, get them that third at-bat, get them into a little comfort zone,” Scioscia said. “I wasn’t trying to stick it to Buddy.”
Reliever Justin Speier, slowed by a sore left hamstring, made his Cactus League debut, giving up Khalil Greene’s solo home run and Kevin Kouzmanoff’s single in the fourth. The right-hander, who signed a four-year, $18-million contract this winter, retired the other three batters he faced.
“It’s good to get back out there and start competing again, get the rust off,” Speier said. “It takes a few outings to get my command where it needs to be.”
The chief executive of the major league players’ union said he does not believe the commissioner’s office will suspend Gary Matthews Jr. for his alleged involvement in the purchase of human growth hormone.
“I don’t think so,” Donald Fehr said after meeting with Angels players on his annual tour of training camps.
Fehr also said he did not believe the Angels would try to void Matthews’ contract. “I know of no reason now that’s going to happen,” he said.
Fehr based his opinion that Matthews would not be disciplined on the statement of attorney Robert Shapiro, who said he was “firmly convinced” Matthews “has not violated any laws or any rules established by Major League Baseball.”
Said Fehr: “I am reasonably optimistic, based on the statements made by his counsel, that this thing is going to run its course. If other circumstances arise, we’ll represent the player to the best of our ability.”
Like son, like father
Gary Matthews Sr. traveled to Tempe this week to provide moral support for his son, who, in addition to the drug allegations, is coping with a front office that has grown increasingly impatient with his reluctance to publicly address the issue.
But like his son, the elder Matthews, a former big league outfielder who is now a Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster, shed little light on the allegations.
“He’ll make a statement, but you have to go through the whole process, talk to the players association and MLB ... let’s wait and see,” Matthews Sr. said. “It was the same thing when Roger [Clemens] came up. No one really rushed to judgment then.”
How hard has the last week been on his son?
“He’s human,” Matthews Sr. said. “But he’s doing his work, taking good at-bats, like we’ve talked about since Little League.”
Is there a logical reason why his son was linked to an investigation into the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs?
“I didn’t get into any specifics with him,” Matthews said. “I’m not here to chastise him. I’m here for moral support.”
Third base prospect Brandon Wood twisted an ankle in a fielding drill Tuesday and will be sidelined until Saturday or Sunday.... Jered Weaver returned after missing Tuesday’s workout because of flu-like symptoms and will throw off a mound for the first time this spring Friday.... Scioscia said Bartolo Colon (rotator-cuff tear) felt “terrific” after Tuesday’s 35-pitch bullpen workout.... Closer Francisco Rodriguez (hamstring strain) and set-up man Scot Shields (sore shoulder) will make their spring debuts Friday.
Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.