Purgatory Online

Friday, March 26, 2004

Ramon Ortiz got blowed up real good by Kansas City last night, giving up four earned runs on six hits in four innings, while walking two and striking out three. The offense deftly removed Ortiz from the hook of his own devising by scoring eight runs in eight innings, only to have Derek Turnbow, who's having a spring to forget, give up three runs in the ninth. The result: an eleven-inning tie, and a deepening seriousness to the worry over who gets the number five slot in the rotation.

Certainly, one doesn't want to read too much into spring training games. But if there was any truth to the statements made going in to training that there would be competition for rotation slots, one has to wonder what's going to happen now that Ortiz is looking shaky. To update the statistics:

Sele: 14.0 IP, 14 H, 5 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 8 K
Ortiz: 12.0 IP, 19 H, 10 ER, 2 HR, 6 BB, 7 K

Today, the L.A. Times quotes Ortiz as follows on the possibility of opening the season in the bullpen: "Whatever Scioscia says, I go. He's the manager. I wouldn't have any problem with that."

Well, okay. Scioscia has already made it clear that he'll probably take three catchers when the Angels break camp, so here's what the 25-man roster would probably look like if Ortiz went to the pen:

C - B. Molina, J. Molina, Paul
1B - Erstad
2B - Kennedy
SS - Eckstein
3B - Glaus
RF - Guerrero
CF - Anderson
LF - Guillen
DH - Salmon
Bench/Utility - Halter, DaVanon, Figgins
SP - Colon, Washburn, Escobar, Lackey, Sele
RP - Ortiz, Shields, Weber, Donnelly, Rodriguez, Percival

If the Angels stick to a five-day schedule for the rest of the spring, which would require shunting someone off to pitch a Triple-A game a couple of times (as they did with Washburn on Tuesday), both Sele and Ortiz would get two more starts this spring - Ortiz's second being the last game of the Freeway Series against the Dodgers. It would surprise me a little, however, if a decision was delayed until the very end, and I'd imagine we'll know who's getting the slot within the next week. While I'm sure the Angels would have preferred to go with Ortiz, given the fact that he's younger and only a couple of years removed from a stellar season, he's making it pretty hard for them to do so and feel good about it.

Colon and Lackey should get some work today and tomorrow; Sele should continue his bid on Sunday.