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Angels excuse starters from bus trip again

March 12, 2011 |  8:10 am

When teams hit the road during spring training, they're supposed to play a minimum of four regular-season starters. That's the guideline Major League Baseball has established -- and one most teams routinely ignore.

Consider the Angels, who play Cleveland in Goodyear, Ariz., Saturday, their fifth road game of the Cactus League season. And, as usual, six regulars are staying home.

Of the players making the 45-minute trip down Interstate 10, only catcher Jeff Mathis and center fielder Peter Bourjos are likely to be in the starting lineup on opening day. But another guy making the trip, first baseman Mark Trumbo, has arguably been the best player on the team -- if not all of baseball -- this spring.

Given a chance to play because of Kendrys Morales long rehab from the broken ankle that ended his 2010 season in May, Trumbo has been impressive. Entering Saturday, he led the majors this spring in total bases (31), doubles (5) and was tied for first in runs batted in (11). And he's second in runs (11), hits (14) and home runs (4). Oh, and he's also batting .389.

Dan Haren who, ironically, has made most of his starts on the road, will be back on the mound after holding the Cubs hitless in three innings in his last outing in Mesa. He'll go four innings or 55 pitches, whichever comes first. And Alberto Callaspo, whose sore shoulder was supposed to be healed well enough to let him play the field by now, remains behind in his return and will once again be the designated hitter.

Saturday's lineup:

RF -- Reggie Willits

C -- Jeff Mathis

CF -- Peter Bourjos

1B -- Mark Trumbo

DH -- Alberto Callaspo

3B -- Brandon Wood

LF -- Chris Pettit

SS -- Andrew Romine

3B -- Gil Velazquez

P -- Dan Haren

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.