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Angels get best of Rangers, Vladdy in 13-9 exhibition win

Vlad SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mike Napoli hit a solo home run in the third inning, and Brandon Wood hit a two-run home run in a four-run fifth inning in the Angels' 13-9 exhibition victory over the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on Monday, the Angels' first game against former teammate Vladimir Guerrero.

Juan Rivera added two hits, an RBI double and an RBI single, and first baseman Kendry Morales, in his first spring start after his arrival was delayed by U.S. immigration paperwork, hit a pair of RBI singles to lead the Angels' 19-hit attack. The Angels had hit only .215 (20 for 93) in their first three games. 

Guerrero, who signed with the Rangers this winter after a distinguished six-year career in Anaheim, flied out to deep right field in the first inning against Angels starter Ervin Santana and blooped a single to right in the fourth inning against Matt Palmer.

Guerrero, who played the last few seasons on a pair of creaky knees, then showed decent speed as he scored all the way from first base on Ian Kinsler's double.

"Vlad looked great -- he was running really well and looks to be in good shape," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "At times he ran well for us, but last year he was coming off knee surgery, he pulled a calf, and I think he was swimming upstream for a while. When he's healthy, he does it."

Santana, who threw two hitless innings in his first spring start, admitted it was strange seeing Guerrero step to the plate in a bright blue Rangers jersey top in the first inning.

"I couldn't hold my laughter -- he was laughing too -- but I still got him out," Santana said of the one-pitch at-bat. It was a quick at-bat. Fastball, away, and he hit it right there. The only way to get him out is to throw it down the middle. If you bounce it or throw it outside, he'll get you."

Santana was very encouraged by a fastball that was clocked between 92-94 mph on the Surprise Stadium speed gun. The right-hander's velocity, in the 96-mph range when he is healthy, fell to the 91-mph range last season, when he struggled to recover from an elbow sprain.

"It's getting better," Santana said. "No more 88 mph. I'm making progress. I feel way different now, better than I did last year. You can challenge the hitters with that kind of velocity."

Said Scioscia: "He looked good. He got a nosebleed warming up, so he had to concentrate through that, but he did a good job. He had good life on his fastball."

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Vladimir Guerrero hits a line drive during Monday's exhibition game. Credit: Ron Jenkins / MCT

 
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