Rain finally lets up for Matsui

Hideki Matsui’s first scheduled exhibition debut with the Angels was rained out Sunday. The Japanese slugger was in the lineup again Tuesday against San Diego, but when a heavy downpour forced a 30-minute delay, it was beginning to seem like “Matsui” was Japanese for rain.

But the game was played, and Matsui struck out and singled to center before being lifted for a pinch-runner in the Angels’ win over the Padres.

“I guess the chances [of playing] looked slim,” Matsui said through an interpreter. “But had it been canceled, I’m sure in tomorrow’s meeting [Manager] Mike Scioscia would call me ‘the guy who brought the rain.’ ”

Said Scioscia: “Just seeing him swing the bat was very reassuring. Obviously, it’s going to take time for him to get his timing, but he looked good. He broke out of the box well.”

Pitchers progress

Relievers Scot Shields and Kevin Jepsen threw a 20-pitch simulated inning and reporting no ill effects from 2009 injuries.


For Shields, who sat out most of 2009 because of left knee surgery, it was the first time he had thrown to hitters since May. “Everything came out good, and the knee felt good,” he said. “It’s still going against your own team, but it was nice to be out there in a competitive game.”

Jepsen, who experienced shoulder tendinitis last September while throwing a career-high 542/3innings as a rookie, showed a firm fastball and feels “no weakness in the shoulder.”

A real toothache

Pitcher Joel Pineiro bit into a bagel Tuesday and lost a molar, the same tooth that required a root canal four months ago.

The right-hander was scratched from Tuesday’s start but will throw a “power” bullpen session Wednesday that will keep him on track for 45 pitches in his next start. “The worst thing is the pain,” Pineiro said.

Short hops

Chris Pettit, who hoped to win a reserve outfield spot, will have surgery on his throwing shoulder to repair a tear and is out for the season. He was hurt during a winter-league game in the Dominican Republic. . . . Center fielder Torii Hunter, who aggravated a right groin injury last Friday, won’t play until Friday at the earliest.



Angels 6, San Diego 5

AT THE PLATE: Ryan Mount hit a home run, Reggie Willits stroked a two-run single and Michael Ryan had an RBI single to key a four-run sixth inning. Ryan, who is trying to win a reserve outfield spot, also doubled in the fifth.

ON THE MOUND: It wasn’t a clean inning -- he gave up a two-out triple to Kyle Banks -- but closer Brian Fuentes looked a lot sharper during a scoreless fourth than he did in his first outing Friday, when he gave up a run on two hits and a walk against Colorado.

EXTRA BASES: Right fielder Bobby Abreu was scratched because of nasty weather conditions. Abreu’s replacement, Ryan, also made a superb diving catch of Yorvit Torrealba’s liner in the third inning.

UP NEXT: Top pitching prospect Trevor Reckling is scheduled to start Wednesday’s game (noon PST) against Cincinnati in Tempe.


--Mike DiGiovanna