Scioscia: Fifth-starter spot an open audition

Scioscia: Fifth-starter spot an open audition

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Jerome Williams has been perceived as the odds-on favorite for the fifth spot in the Angels' vaunted rotation. But for now, manager Mike Scioscia will call it an "open competition."

Along with Williams, who's out of options, the Angels will also have budding prospect Garrett Richards vying for a spot alongside Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson and Ervin Santana. Richards, 23, posted a 5.79 ERA in 14 Major League innings last year, but has an electric arm and went 12-2 with a 3.15 ERA in Double-A.

There's also Trevor Bell, who made 19 relief appearances in 2011, and lefty Brad Mills, who came over from the Blue Jays in the Jeff Mathis trade. Both have an option year left. Then, there's Eric Hurley and Matt Shoemaker, signed to Minor League deals this offseason.

Williams, the 30-year-old right-hander who went 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA through 44 innings toward the end of 2011, is probably the top choice for that fifth spot heading into camp.

But there's no point to declaring that on Day 1.

"There's hopefully going to be a depth chart that's going to be very tangible when we get to the end of Spring Training," Scioscia said. "Right now, there's no sense ranking them, because you never know what Spring Training brings."