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Angels: Morning spring training update

February 27, 2009 | 10:08 am

Napoli_2 --Mike Napoli starts at designated hitter today against the Rockies. Manager Mike Scioscia said Napoli, coming off shoulder surgery, started a throwing program yesterday. The Angels believe Napoli can be ready to catch on opening day.

--Outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., coming off knee surgery, is ahead of a rehabilitation schedule that projected him to start playing Cactus League games at the end of March. Matthews has been cleared to participate in workouts but not games, Scioscia said, and game clearance could come soon "but not today, tomorrow or the next day."

--Erick Aybar, the shortstop and likely No. 9 hitter, batted .277 with a .314 on-base percentage in his first full season in the major leagues. "He has the potential to be a guy that can hit first or second in a championship-caliber lineup," Scioscia said. "We anticipate him developing into that role. ... [but his on-base percentage] has to be better than .320 or .330 if he's going to hit in front of your big boys."

--Jim Tracy, formerly the Dodgers' manager and currently a coach for the Rockies, reminisced with Vladimir Guerrero before today's game. The two were together for years with the Montreal Expos, when Guerrero was the young star and Tracy a coach under Felipe Alou.

--Today's lineup:

Hainley Statia, ss

Bobby Abreu, lf

Freddy Sandoval, 3b

Mike Napoli, dh

Sean Rodriguez, 2b

Bobby Wilson, c

Terry Evans, rf

Mark Trumbo, 1b

Peter Bourjos, cf

Sean O'Sullivan, rhp

O'Sullivan is scheduled to be followed by Rafael Rodriguez, rhp; Fernando Rodriguez, rhp; Ryan Brasier, rhp; Alex Torres, lhp.

Shane Loux is scheduled to start tomorrow against the Brewers, with Scot Shields, Brian Fuentes, Rich Thompson, Matt Wilhite, Francisco Rodriguez (no, not that one) and Jose Arredondo slated to follow.

Dustin Moseley and Nick Adenhart, two of the contestants for the fifth starter's job, each are expected to pitch Sunday against the Royals. John Lackey is scheduled to make his first spring start Monday against the Rockies.

--Bill Shaikin

Photo: The Angels' Mike Napoli hits a sacrifice fly against the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 25, 2008. Credit: John Froschauer / Associated Press