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Wilson likes how his stuff feels in intrasquad game

TEMPE, Ariz. -- There's very little you can tell from an intrasquad game that's played in a controlled environment, where innings finish when you want them to, hitters come to the plate as often as necessary and games end when the pitchers get their work in.

But in some ways, Tuesday presented Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson with his first real challenge of the spring.

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Wilson, who struck out seven batters while giving up a couple of tough-luck runs in a four-inning stint at Tempe Diablo Stadium's main field, reached the 60-pitch range on what was an off-day for most of his teammates.

And for starting pitchers, simply getting to that point -- when the command starts to falter and adjustments must be made -- is significant.

"That's the fun part," Wilson said. "You can roll out of bed and throw 30 to 40 pitches if you're a starting pitcher. It's not that hard. But once you get to 60, 70, 80, 100, 120, that's when you have to start making adjustments throughout the game. And as your body gets a little tired or your stuff degrades and it's not as sharp, then other pitches might actually get better -- like the changeup might get better, the curveball might get better -- just with repetition and feel."

Wilson, throwing to Hank Conger, was facing mostly Angels Minor Leaguers, but manager Mike Scioscia said his stuff was "as good as it ever was" and he "could've probably gone two more innings maintaining his stuff," though recovery factors in at that point.

Coming off offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow, Wilson has allowed three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings of Cactus League play this year. Since his next turn fell on an off-day, the Angels scheduled the intrasquad game so Wilson and Garrett Richards could stay on schedule.

Wilson liked the controlled environment because it allowed him to work on other elements of his game -- like the pickoff to second, or the slide step with a runner on first -- in a game setting.

Mostly, he liked how his stuff felt throughout.

"I felt like I used all my pitches today -- fastball, curveball, changeup, slider, cutter -- and they were all strikes," Wilson said. "I had some sharp stuff on my glove side, which I got some strikeouts with, and I felt good about that. Hank and I work really well together, so it's always fun to throw to him. I feel like if I shake a pitch, he knows really what to go for."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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