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Big League Stew

Angels pitchers will deal from a position of strength

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and C.J. Wilson (Getty Images)

A few observations from a day spent in Angels territory ...

TEMPE, Ariz. — With all the questions he's already fielded and hundreds more to come, Chris Iannetta might be justified in asking the Los Angeles Angels for a raise.

Though Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson signed the high-profile deals for big dollars last winter, it was the new Halos catcher who was doing the most media work on Monday morning. Iannetta, who was acquired from Colorado in a trade at the end of November, welcomed wave after wave of reporters and never once did he turn anyone away.

Some of the questions Iannetta fielded were undoubtedly about his own quest to provide an offensive presence with the Angels. But many more were about the pitching staff he's lucky enough to inherit. Over the course of the season, he'll serve as a backstop for Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson and Ervin Santana, who arguably form the top rotation in the AL.

• It really is quite a thing to look around the Angels clubhouse these days as it's packed with star power both old and new. That's especially evident in the back corner of the clubhouse, where all the pitchers have set up shop. After watching Iannetta consent to one interview after another — I never did get a chance to talk to him before the morning workout started —  I walked over to Haren and asked him about his own expectations when it came to he and his throwing mates.

"On paper it definitely looks good," Haren said. "But we still have to go out and get it done. For me, I think everyone just has to handle their own business. Everyone has different ways to get ready for games and different ways to take care of themselves, but if everyone does it I like our chances at the end."

Haren and Weaver were wearing matching T-shirts that featured Weaver's silhouette and the saying "Long Hair, Don't Care" printed on the back. The camaraderie between the four starters was apparent and I wondered how (or if) that would translate to game preparation.

"It's not as easy as you would think," Haren said. "Everyone is so different when it comes to pitching styles or repertoire. Obviously C.J. being left-handed, Ervin's more fastball-slider, I deal more with control and then Weaver does his own thing ... Even in scouting meetings and stuff, we talk about pitching to our strengths rather than going at a batter's weakness. We'll obviously go after a batter's weakness if it's there, but we all have a definite strength to our game and we like to stick with that."

• It was Weaver's turn to start on Monday and things didn't go exactly as planned. The presumed opening day starter gave up four hits and three runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Diablo Stadium. But Weaver was far from down on his performance, noting that he was still breaking in his breaking ball and that he was inducing plenty of foul balls. I asked him when he would really start caring about the results of his spring training starts and his response was a simple one.

"The last one," he said.

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