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Real Baseball Today! Scioscia Likes His Powerwheels. Halolinks

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PLAYBALL!
PLAYBALL!

Twins-Angels Preview - FOX Sports on MSN
Los Angeles hopes to continue its recent success against Minnesota by turning to Jered Weaver. The right-hander won 12 of his first 15 decisions last season and finished 16-8 with a 3.75 ERA. He was 9-3 with a 2.90 ERA at Angel Stadium. Weaver lost his only previous opening day start in 2008 at Minnesota. He's 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA in six career starts against the Twins, and Mauer is 6 for 15 with two doubles against him. Minnesota will counter with right-hander Scott Baker, who went 15-9 with a 4.37 ERA last season, topping his previous career high in wins by four. Baker is 0-4 with a 5.59 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the Angels, but he's 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA against them in two starts over the last two seasons.

Baseball season starts today. Just in case you didn't know.

With more power in lineup, Angels hope for best of both worlds - latimes.com
"We expect to drive the ball better than we have since maybe our first year here in 2000," Manager Mike Scioscia said. That year, the Angels had four players with 34 or more home runs. "It's not a change of philosophy, where you're saying you're not going to be aggressive on the bases," Scioscia said. "But the reality is, if you have a basketball team that's been running up and down the court and all of a sudden you get two All-Star low-post players, you're going to try to take advantage of that."

Hideki Matsui and Brandon Wood star as Kevin McHale and Larry Bird in "More Power To Ya".

Angels-Twins opening series at a glance - latimes.com
Opening-day facts: Former Angels outfielder Tim Salmon will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the national anthem will be sung by 12-year-old Taylor Longbrake, who made her first appearance with the Angels at age 8. Torii Hunter, Brian Fuentes, Howie Kendrick and General Manager Tony Reagins will take part in a pregame ceremony raising the Angels' 2009 American League West championship flag. Of note The Angels are trying to become the first AL West team to win four straight division titles since the 1971-75 Oakland Athletics, who are the only other team to accomplish the feat. The Twins have won five of the last eight AL Central titles.

Taylor Longbrake. The reason you aren't playing in the Halos Heaven fantasy league.

MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

Kazmir sharp in first rehab (sorta) start - The Orange County Register
Left-hander Scott Kazmir’s slight hamstring strain set him back enough this spring that the Angels decided to have him open the season on the DL. He’ll get two starts — one in a minor-league camp game and one for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga — to build up his pitch count and stamina before joining the Angels’ starting rotation some time on their first road trip of the season.

Doesn't sound like Kaz's injury is too bad [crosses fingers]. If you happen to be in the neighborhood on Friday, get yourself a Quakes magnet....

Scott Kazmir Scheduled To Start On Friday - OurSports Central
Friday will be a big night at The Epicenter and plenty of great seats are available. In addition to the possibility of Kazmir taking the hill for the Quakes, everyone in attendance will receive a FREE Allstar KIA 2010 Quakes Magnet Schedule, thanks to Allstar Kia and AM 1510 The SPA. Game time is 7:05pm, as the Quakes host the Inland Empire 66ers.

Sliding: MLB average salary down 17% from 2009 -USATODAY.com
The salaries of major league players on opening-day rosters have plummeted 17% from last year, the largest decrease since USA TODAY began its annual salary survey in 1988.

CORRECTION: The average salary of players on opening-day rosters was incorrectly stated in the original version of this story. The average player salary is $3.27 million, a 1% increase from $3.26 million in 2009.

Don't feel too bad, the average salary is now "just" $2,700,000. I think this is the smart teams taking advantage of the new under valued asset; CASH.

Evaluating Mike Scioscia and Terry Francona - The Hardball Times
Other things the Tendencies Database told me about Scioscia were a bit more surprising. For example, there’s the matter of how he likes to rest (or not rest) his starting positions players. While that’s something to keep an eye on, it’s not as serious an issue as it sounds. It also provides some interesting evidence for who Scioscia likes to rest (his catchers), or not rest (his outfielders), as the following results from the Tendencies Database demonstrate:

You'll have to follow the link to see the results. You won't be disappointed. But then, I do show a tendency to disappoint (Top 6 all time!)

Pinning hopes on young pitchers is often more miss than hit - latimes.com
"They've proven they can win, and now they can lead a rotation," Butcher said of Weaver, Saunders and Santana. "And I think beating Boston in the playoffs last year got a lot of our guys over the hump. Once you start breaking through barriers, guys start to believe they can make it to the next level."

Barriers are made to be broken.

Los Angeles Angels' public grieving of Nick Adenhart ends April 9 - ESPN Los Angeles
A year isn't long enough to erase the painful memory of Nick Adenhart's death, but the Angels will end their public grieving process next Friday. That day, April 9, is the one-year anniversary of the car accident that killed the 22-year-old pitcher and two of his friends. The Angels' only acknowledgment of the anniversary will be a presentation before the game of the new Nick Adenhart award -- given to the team's most valuable pitcher -- to Jered Weaver.

USA TODAY's 2010 MLB predictions - USATODAY.com
Predictions for division races in the 2010 season from USA TODAY's MLB staff:

All of these guys from USAToday pick either the Yankees or Red Sox to win the A.L. championship, but not the World Series (all picked a N.L. team to win it).

Hot Offseason Action: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - umpbump.com
All told, getting something for nothing in the Matthews deal was probably the most cagey move of the offseason for the Angels. Otherwise, they were just replacing big-name brand name pieces with the baseball equivalent of buying the store brand. Sometimes the store brand actually turns out to be better than the brand name, and its certainly cheaper, so the Angels will certainly still be in contention this year, and you can never count out a team managed by Mike Scioscia, let alone one that still has a strong core, like this one.

Last preview. Really. At least until the new Matt Damon movie comes out.

DH bombshell: Chavez in, Cust out - San Francisco Chronicle
Cust would have to accept the assignment to get his full guaranteed salary of $2.65 million, and Saturday evening, he said, "I've got to do what's best for my family, but I'm not going to let (the A's) just walk all over me. "I've busted my butt for them for three years, and I played sporadically this spring and they leave it until the day before the regular season to do this, like they didn't know what was going on before? And with Coco (Crisp) on the DL (broken pinkie) - I'm not good enough to be one of the 25 guys?"

I'll let Captain Obvious answer your question Jack.

"No."

Thanks Captain.

Mariners place Lee on 15-day disabled list - SI.com
Seattle Mariners ace Cliff Lee was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with an abdominal strain, an expected move given the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner's health troubles this spring. Lee is still only throwing on flat ground. "The first time he threw he still felt it so we backed off. There's no timetable. We're taking baby steps right now. He has to get his pitch count back up and we hope there's progress without reinjuring it. He'll throw off a mound in a couple of days."

Not throwing off a mound? Don't pitcher have to do that?

Bugs & Cranks " Stop Touching Me. I’ll Stop Touching You.
By the time those gentle notes play midway through the 8th inning, the Red Sox are usually winning, and everyone around me is usually drunk. An obnoxious combo. Far worse if I’m sitting amid 35,000 boneheads, intoxicated and now-singing-to-their-Red Sox girlfriends-in-their-pink-ballcaps while she combs her beard.

I thought I'd finish that last sentence for him.

April 5 - BR Bullpen
1972: For the first time in MLB history, the regular season fails to open due to the player strike which started on April 1. 86 games will be lost before the labor dispute is settled.