Purgatory Online

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Angels had a day off yesterday, their last before the end of spring training. Beginning today, they play thirteen more spring training games, during which all those nagging questions about who's going to fit in where will - I hope - be answered.

Taking the mound for Anaheim today (against Milwaukee) is Aaron Sele. Taking Bud Black at his word that John Lackey will "most likely" be the fourth starter, this leaves Sele fighting Ortiz for that fifth starting slot, just as everyone figured would happen before spring training started. It's not impossible that Kevin Gregg might get that slot, of course, but it's extremely unlikely, because it would require a pretty big leap of faith on the Angels' part, as well as necessitating the trade of both Sele and Ortiz, neither of whom looks to be especially attractive on the free agent market at the moment.

Thus far this spring, here's what the two of them have done:

Sele - 9.0 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 5 K
Ortiz - 8.0 IP, 13 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 4 BB, 4 K

Ortiz's last appearance was on Friday, when he was poleaxed by the A's, surrendering six of those hits (including the home run) , four of those earned runs, and two of those walks in three innings. He should be ready to pitch again tomorrow, but both Washburn and Escobar will be in need of work as well, so we may see Ortiz pushed back to Thursday or even Friday, depending on whether Scioscia uses more than one starter in a game. We should be able to expect to see three more appearances from each before the end of spring training, assuming that both pitchers remain in camp that long, and they appear to be close enough at this point that those games are going to matter.