Blanton to start; Santiago to face Minor Leaguers

Blanton to start; Santiago to face Minor Leaguers

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Joe Blanton is getting at least one more Spring Training showcase.

The 33-year-old right-hander -- owed an additional $8.5 million, with no perceivable role on the pitching staff -- will start for the Angels when they travel to Maryvale, Ariz., to face the Brewers on Saturday, while scheduled starter Hector Santiago will instead get his work done in a Minor League game.

Asked if the move was done to get a closer look at Blanton or to pitch Santiago in a controlled environment, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said: "It's both. We want both guys to get their work. Hector is obviously in our rotation. He needs to get up seven times, so that serves a purpose."

Blanton, coming off a 2-14 season with a 6.04 ERA, is not in the rotation. The 22-year-old Tyler Skaggs is expected to nail down the fifth spot, behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Santiago and Garrett Richards. And the Angels, who acquired additional pitching depth by trading for Tigers left-hander Jose Alvarez on Friday, are hopeful of trading Blanton to a team willing to absorb some of his remaining salary.

The Angels could temporarily stash Blanton in the bullpen to buy some time, but he isn't expected to spend the 2014 season as a long reliever.

"Let's get through this week and we'll see how things sort out," Scioscia said when asked if he can see Blanton become a swingman. "Any pitchers who are throwing the ball well, there are roles for them on our team. We'll see where Joe fits in."

Blanton gave up seven runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Rockies on March 7, then moved to the third-base side of the rubber for the first time in his career and saw better results, pitching five one-hit innings against the Rangers and then giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Cubs. All three of Blanton's starts have come on the road half of a split squad.

"I think the adjustments that he's made are a work in progress," Scioscia said, "but he got some pretty dramatic results the first time he did it, and he carried it over in the second start, too."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for 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.