Free agents could be valuable at Deadline

Competition in AL West fierce as Opening Day approaches

Free agents could be valuable at Deadline

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's hard to predict where the Angels might be when the non-waiver Trade Deadline rolls around on July 31.

They have the pieces to be surprise contenders if everything breaks right, but they're also vulnerable to injuries in their rotation and will face tough competition from the reloaded Astros, Mariners and Rangers in the American League West.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Relievers Guerra, Valdez among Angels cuts

Four more reassigned to Minor League camp

Relievers Guerra, Valdez among Angels cuts

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels moved closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster on Monday after reassigning six players to Minor League camp, including right-handed relievers Deolis Guerra and Jose Valdez.

Guerra and Valdez both had stints in the Angels' bullpen in 2016, but they were outrighted off the club's 40-man roster over the offseason and had arrived at Spring Training hoping to reclaim their relief jobs. Guerra, 27, logged a 10.80 ERA over five Cactus League appearances and spent part of camp pitching for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. The 27-year-old Valdez recorded a 5.23 ERA over 10 1/3 innings this spring.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pujols backs Chavez's strong start

Pujols backs Chavez's strong start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Angels broke open a one-run game with a three-run rally in the fifth that sparked their 4-2 win over the D-backs, but it was a commanding performance from Angels starter Jesse Chavez that ruled the day.

Chavez was masterful, getting through six full innings on just 73 pitches (43 strikes). He blanked the D-backs on three hits, walking none and striking out three, providing extra justification for being named the Angels' fifth starter.

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the D-backs on Monday.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Angels cautious with Simmons' stiff back

Chavez appears to have firm grasp on rotation job after scoreless start

Angels cautious with Simmons' stiff back

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons missed his second straight spring game on Monday due to lower back stiffness, though the Angels do not believe the ailment is serious.

"He's OK," manager Mike Scioscia said following the Halos' 4-2 win over the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. "He had a little lower back stiffness, so as a precaution we sat him down yesterday and took it easy today. He says if it's a regular season game he could have played, but we wanted to make sure that he's over it."

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Efficiency key for Richards' successful return

Efficiency key for Richards' successful return

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels right-hander Garrett Richards pitched six innings in his Minor League start against the Rockies on Sunday, and said he's pleased with where he stands heading into the final week of Spring Training.

Richards allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits while walking none and striking out four in the 69-pitch outing.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Winter additions calculate to better defense

Winter additions calculate to better defense

TEMPE, Ariz. -- By at least one metric, the Angels fielded the fourth-best defensive team in the Majors last season. But they're poised to potentially be even better in that realm in 2017 after adding a trio of strong defenders to their squad during the offseason.

General manager Billy Eppler has made a concerted effort to upgrade the Angels' defense since taking over the front office in October 2015. Eppler inherited a pair of elite outfielders in Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun, but he significantly strengthened the middle of the infield by acquiring Andrelton Simmons -- widely considered the best defensive shortstop in the game -- from the Braves in one of his first big moves as general manager.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marte, Trout double in loss

Marte, Trout double in loss

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Wander Franco capped a two-run rally in the ninth to lift the Royals to an 8-7 victory over the Angels on Sunday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Franco, in his first game with the big league club, hit a flare to left-center to score pinch-runner Logan Moon for the victory.

Terrance Gore started the rally when he singled on a ground ball to right, moved to third on Brayan Pena's hard hit single, and scored on Salvador Perez's ground out to short to tie the score at 7. Paulo Orlando and Brandon Moss slugged two-run home runs for the Royals in the fourth inning.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heave-ho: Scioscia tossed in third vs. D-backs

Heave-ho: Scioscia tossed in third vs. D-backs

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Manager Mike Scioscia was ejected in the third inning of the Angels' 7-4 win over the D-backs on Saturday following a heated exchange with home plate umpire Mike Cascioppo.

During an at-bat by left fielder Cameron Maybin, Cascioppo called a 1-0 pitch from Arizona starter Taijuan Walker a strike, even though it appeared low to players in the Angels' dugout. When they protested the call, Scioscia said Cascioppo, a Minor League umpire, told him to "shut up." Scioscia jumped on the rebuke, sparking an argument that eventually led to his ejection.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pujols, Perez back Skaggs' four-inning gem

Pujols, Perez back Skaggs' four-inning gem

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols and Carlos Perez both crushed two-run home runs to power the Angels to a 7-4 win over the D-backs on Saturday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Pujols, who is coming off foot surgery, opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with his second homer of the spring, a shot to left-center off D-backs starter Taijuan Walker. Andrelton Simmons followed later in the inning with a two-run single to give the Angels an early 4-0 lead.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Halos' 2017 'pen to rely on multi-inning arms

Halos' 2017 'pen to rely on multi-inning arms

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' bullpen figures to deviate from standard configuration in 2017.

With few overpowering arms at their disposal, the Halos are instead looking to build a relief corps that features multiple pitchers with the ability to throw more than one inning. Right-handers JC Ramirez, Yusmeiro Petit and Bud Norris, who have performed well this spring, are among the contenders to fill multi-inning roles for the Angels this season.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Angels use 8 pitchers to no-hit Mariners

Angels use 8 pitchers to no-hit Mariners

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Eight Angels pitchers combined to no-hit a Mariners split squad on Friday night, leading the Halos to a 4-0 win in the lone night game of the spring at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

With only two regular position players, Leonys Martin and Jean Segura, in their lineup, the Mariners mustered only two baserunners; Segura reached on catcher's interference in the fourth and Zach Shank walked in the sixth.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Defense shines for Angels in Spring Training no-no

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Defense shines for Angels in Spring Training no-no

Tempe Diablo Stadium was the sight of something special on Friday night, when the Angels hosted the Mariners' split squad for an AL West Spring Training matchup. 

Now, a regular Spring Training game (especially one against a split-squad team) may not ordinarily register on your scale of meaningful on-field events, but this game was different. Not just because the Angels threw their first team no-hitter in Spring Training since 1996, or the first Cactus League no-hitter since '96 (but the second in MLB this spring), but how they pulled it off. 

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Valbuena disappointed to start Angels career on shelf

Valbuena disappointed to start Angels career on shelf

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Luis Valbuena, the Angels' top free-agent acquisition, is disappointed he will not be able to begin the season with his new teammates.

"I feel so bad because I want to start the season healthy," Valbuena said Friday. "We'll see what happens. I wanted to start the season, try to win and help my team. Right now I feel so bad because it's my first time here. A new team, and this happens to me."

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Meyer among 4 sent to Minors camp

Meyer among 4 sent to Minors camp

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels continued to pare down their roster on Friday, sending four players to Minor League camp, including right-hander Alex Meyer.

Meyer, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Angels' No. 8 prospect, arrived to Spring Training as a contender for the fifth spot in the rotation, but he was inconsistent over his five Cactus League appearances and is now slated to open the season at Triple-A Salt Lake.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Valbuena out 4-6 weeks with hamstring strain

Valbuena out 4-6 weeks with hamstring strain

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Infielder Luis Valbuena has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain and is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks, the Angels announced Thursday.

Valbuena exited the Angels' 7-4 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday after three innings with hamstring tightness and underwent an MRI on Thursday, which revealed the extent of the injury.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cron stays hot, Nolasco gets on a roll vs. Padres

Cron stays hot, Nolasco gets on a roll vs. Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jamie Romak and Hunter Renfroe capped a late rally with back-to-back doubles, as the Padres -- who used a go-ahead balk to take their first lead -- came from behind to beat the Angels, 6-2, on Thursday.

With the score knotted at 2 in the eighth, Angels reliever Jose Valdez balked home the go-ahead run, before Romak plated a pair with a laser off the center-field wall. Renfroe, who finished 2-for-4 to boost his Cactus League average to .298, followed by driving Romak home.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Injury to Valbuena could open door for Marte

Injury to Valbuena could open door for Marte

TEMPE, Ariz. - When the Angels signed infielder Luis Valbuena to a two-year, $15 million deal in January, it essentially came at the expense of Jefry Marte, who seemed to lose his spot on the Major League roster.

But Valbuena suffered a right hamstring strain on Wednesday and will be out for 4-6 weeks, creating an opening for Marte to make the team as a bench player. Marte, 25, has been a corner infielder for most of his career, but the Angels tried him in the outfield for the first time last year in an attempt to fill their hole in left field and keep his potent bat in the lineup.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Revere leads Angels' offense vs. Mariners

Revere leads Angels' offense vs. Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Ben Revere and Eric Young Jr. ripped back-to-back home runs in the second inning and Yusmeiro Petit turned in a strong start as an Angels split squad topped the Mariners, 9-8, under overcast skies at Peoria Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Shortstop Jean Segura, playing his second game since returning from the World Baseball Classic, hit his second homer of the spring for the Mariners with a two-run shot in the sixth.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Righty Meyer filled in as teacher in offseason

Education was always a backup plan for Angels' 6-foot-9 pitcher

Righty Meyer filled in as teacher in offseason

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia has seen his fair share of players who have side jobs in the offseason.

"I'm trying to think offhand, but there are some things guys have done," Scioscia said. "Ranged from bartender to dogcatcher."

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Logan Newman is a senior majoring in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Trout clubs 1st spring home run

Trout clubs 1st spring home run

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout hit his first home run of the spring, but it wasn't enough to prevent the split-squad Angels from falling to the Rangers, 7-4, on Wednesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

James Loney's two-run double off Angels starter Alex Meyer capped a three-run outburst for the Rangers in the first, though the Halos scored three times in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 3. The Rangers restored their lead on Jurickson Profar's tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the second and went ahead 5-3 on Drew Robinson's RBI double in the third.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Despite disappointing end, Simmons a fan of Classic

Angels shortstop feels 'more locked in than normal' after playing for Netherlands

Despite disappointing end, Simmons a fan of Classic

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons returned to Angels camp Wednesday after playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic and said he enjoyed the experience despite the Dutch team's heartbreaking exit from the tournament.

The Netherlands fell to Puerto Rico, 4-3, in 11 innings Monday in a semifinal game at Dodger Stadium. It was a disappointing end for the Netherlands, which was hurt by a pair of baserunning gaffes in the first that undermined a potentially big inning for the club. Simmons committed one of the miscues when he was caught straying too far off second base on a bunt attempt.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schedule may take Richards out of OD mix

Schedule may take Richards out of OD mix

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday that ace right-hander Garrett Richards is scheduled "in pencil" to start against the Dodgers on March 31, three days before Opening Day. That would seem to suggest that Richards will be unavailable to start the Angels' season opener, though it's also possible he could make an abbreviated outing to stay sharp for their first game against the A's on April 3.

Still, Scioscia said nothing is definitive at this point.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramirez making big push for starting rotation

Ramirez making big push for starting rotation

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- JC Ramirez didn't expect to still be starting for the Angels in the sixth week of Spring Training. When the Halos told him they wanted to try him as a starter this spring, he figured they'd give him two outings before moving him back to the bullpen.

But on Tuesday, Ramirez took the mound and pitched five innings in a game for the first time since 2011, allowing one run on four hits and striking out six in the Angels' 9-1 win over the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Angels rally, take advantage of Reds' miscues

Angels rally, take advantage of Reds' miscues

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds starter Cody Reed pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings and Ryan Raburn homered, but the Angels rallied with five unearned runs in the seventh inning to win Tuesday afternoon's Cactus League matchup, 9-1, at Goodyear Ballpark.

Kole Calhoun ripped an RBI single and Nolan Fontana added a two-run double during the Angels' outburst, which was aided by some defensive miscues from the Reds' reserves.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Street on track to resume throwing next week

Street on track to resume throwing next week

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels right-hander Huston Street visited Dr. Steve Yoon in Los Angeles on Monday and said his strained right lat is healing as expected, keeping him on track to resume throwing at the end of the month.

Street suffered the injury while making his Cactus League debut against the Brewers on March 3. His original diagnosis called for three to four weeks of no throwing, and he said that timetable has not changed.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Skaggs 'strong' and 'happy' after Minors start

Skaggs 'strong' and 'happy' after Minors start

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Tyler Skaggs struck out five over four scoreless innings in his Minor League start against the Brewers on Monday night at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Skaggs walked one and allowed two hits -- a triple in the second and an infield single in the fourth that could have been ruled an error. He threw 50 pitches, with his fastball hovering between 90-94 mph.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Torii Hunter Jr. plays under dad's watchful eye

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Torii Hunter Jr. plays under dad's watchful eye

In his final season with the Angels, Torii Hunter took a young outfielder named Mike Trout under his wing and mentored the highly touted prospect over the course of his first full year in the big leagues.

The two haven't played together since 2012, but on Sunday, Trout shared the field with another Hunter -- Torii Hunter Jr.

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