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Split-squad game not ideal start for Scioscia

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels have drawn the short straw when it comes to scheduling in 2013. On April 1 in Cincinnati, they'll have to open up the regular season under National League rules. And on Saturday, they'll start Cactus League play with a split-squad game, making it extra difficult considering the early start to Spring Training has made them extra cautious with their most important pitchers.

"It's not our preference," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Split squad the first day, it's absurd. That's the best word I can say."

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The Angels have voiced their displeasure to Major League Baseball, but were told that with an odd number of teams in Arizona (15), somebody has to open up Spring Training with a split-squad game. It was just the Angels' turn in the rotation, so they'll host the Cubs and travel to Scottsdale to face the Giants on Saturday.

There are ways to avoid teams opening up with a split-squad game, though -- by having college teams play or by separating off-days to avoid one so early in camp. The latter, however, would mean some stadiums lose a day of ticket revenues.

If the Astros, now members of the American League West, move to Arizona, the problem would resolve itself.

"I guess they feel somebody has to do it," Scioscia said. "But honestly, if you need a game, you can push it back. I just don't see why we couldn't have done this four or five days into our Spring Training schedule as opposed to the first day. It just makes no sense. But we'll get through it. We'll play and we'll get through it."

Arizona has had an odd number of teams since the Dodgers moved from Vero Beach, Fla., starting in 2009. Last year, the D-backs opened with a split squad on March 3. In 2011, the Dodgers did it on Feb. 26.

The split squad represents problems for the Angels because none of the five members of their rotation will appear in games until March 1 and Minor League camp started less than a week ago, forcing them to scramble to find bodies to fill out two games.

Scioscia is part of Bud Selig's Special Committee for On-Field Matters, but they have no jurisdiction in this area.

"Any way you have to work around a split squad is worth exploring, because a split squad on the first day is difficult to navigate around," the Angels' skipper said. "I understand the numbers and the components and all of that, but I would think we can find a way to work our way around it."

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