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Angels ready to get it started

March 31, 2011 | 11:50 am

Lh3iw3nc The rain that had long been forecast starting falling gently just after the Angels took the field at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium for pregame warmups ahead of Thursday afternoon's season opener with the Royals. But that did little to dampen the opening-day excitement of Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and his players -- and it figures to have little effect on the game.

"It's a playoff atmosphere," said catcher Bobby Wilson, on an opening day roster for the second time in his career. "Everybody's in first place on opening day. The big American flag in center field. The flyover. The goosebumps when that plane goes over. The first pitch of the season. It's awesome. There's nothing like it."

"We're definitely excited and ready to get after it," said Scioscia, who is managing a team with an opening-day payroll of more than $138 million, by far the highest in franchise history. "We feel good about where we are. We know we have some growth in this team. And hopefully we're going to continue to improve in the short term."

The Angels have won six of their last seven opening-day games while right-hander Jered Weaver, making his third opening-day start and second in as many seasons, is 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA in openers. The Royals, meanwhile, are coming off baseball's best spring, having gone 20-10-1 in the exhibition season. In addition, Kansas City has never lost a regular-season game played in March.

The lineups


3B -- Maicer Izturis

2B -- Howie Kendrick

DH -- Bobby Abreu

RF -- Torii Hunter

LF -- Vernon Wells

SS -- Erick Aybar

1B -- Mark Trumbo

C -- Jeff Mathis

CF -- Peter Bourjos

P -- Jered Weaver

Kansas City Royals

3B -- Mike Aviles

CF -- Melky Cabrera

LF -- Alex Gordon

DH -- Billy Butler

1B -- Kila Ka'aihue

RF -- Jeff Francoeur

SS -- Alcides Escobar

C -- Matt Treanor

2B -- Chris Getz

P -- Luke Hochevar

-- Kevin Baxter in Kansas City


Battered Angels getting better

Mark Trumbo hasn't hit his way into Angels' lineup yet

Photo: Bobby Wilson. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire