Angels' Opening Day starter still a question mark

Angels' Opening Day starter still a question mark

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Opening Day is less than three weeks away, but the Angels still have not determined who will take the mound for them when they face the A's on April 3 in Oakland.

Manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday that the club is still weighing its options, and will use the next couple of weeks of Spring Training to see which members of the rotation will line up best for the first week of the regular season.

"There's a group of guys that we're going to see as we get into this week, where they line up and what makes sense and look at the first couple of weeks of the season to see how it plays out," Scioscia said.

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Right-hander Matt Shoemaker is currently on track to start on Opening Day if he continues to pitch every five days, though Scioscia said the Angels still have time to reshuffle their rotation before the season begins.

"There's definitely room for reorganization," Scioscia said. "We're going to look at it here within the next 10 days and see where guys are, what guys are ready [and] who's throwing the ball well."

Richards sits down four in 2 1/3

Ace Garrett Richards, who looked sharp in his third Cactus League start during an 8-7 win against the Rockies on Thursday, seems the most logical choice to inaugurate the season for the Angels. Still, Richards said he has three more scheduled starts this spring and has not been informed of the Angels' rotation plans for the opening week of the season.

"I'm going to take the ball when they tell me to take the ball," Richards said. "That's not my area of expertise. When they want me to throw, I'm going to be ready to throw. That's all I can do."

Left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who is behind the rest of the Halos' top starters after missing one start due to shoulder weakness, and right-handers Ricky Nolasco and Jesse Chavez will likely round out the rotation to start the season.

Nolasco K's Barnes in the 2nd

Worth noting
• Shortstop Cliff Pennington returned to the Angels lineup Thursday after missing five games with a shoulder issue. He went hitless in three at-bats.

• Right-hander Kirby Yates, who is in the running for a bullpen job, surrendered a leadoff home run to Rafael Ynoa in the fifth inning Thursday. It was the first run Yates allowed all spring. Entering the game, the 29-year-old reliever had worked five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts over his first five outings.

"He's got that kind of arm that's really sneaky," Scioscia said before the game. "He's got a live fastball. I think he's got a better understanding of how to put [his secondary pitches] together over the last couple of years. He's kind of a sleeper."

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