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Palmer has strong outing, Mathis homers in Angels' 10-3 win over A's

March 25, 2011 |  4:15 pm

Matt-palmer_300 One reason Scott Kazmir will open the season in the rotation is that the Angels don't really have an attractive alternative to the struggling left-hander at the moment. Matt Palmer could change that.

Palmer, slowed for much of March by bronchitis, had his best outing of the spring Friday, giving up only one run and four hits in six innings of the Angels' 10-3 exhibition victory over the Oakland Athletics in Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Palmer went 11-2 with a 3.93 earned-run average for the Angels in 2009 but missed most of 2010 because of a shoulder injury. He struggled for much of March to regain his strength but had enough endurance to go six innings Friday, the A's only run off him coming on Andy LaRoche's fifth-inning homer. Palmer struck out one and walked two.

"It only helps our depth when there's competition, and sure, there's competition," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Matt had better command of his four-seamer and two-seamer, and he threw strikes. His stuff is legitimate. He just needs to get it in good spots."

Jeff Mathis highlighted a four-run third inning with a two-run home run to left; Howie Kendrick had three hits, including a run-scoring double; and Maicer Izturis doubled and scored in each of his first two at-bats to lead the Angels.

With Kendrys Morales opening the season on the disabled list and Bobby Abreu moving from the second to the third spot in the order, Scioscia said he will use Izturis and Kendrick in the first and second spots to start the season.

"That makes a lot of sense right now," Scioscia said. "It's a look we'll go with and adjust from there."

Reliever Michael Kohn threw a one-two-three seventh inning and has given up only one earned run in 10 spring innings, striking out eight and walking two.

"He's moved up very quickly for a reason -- he's very talented, and he's figured some things out," Scioscia said of Kohn, a 24-year-old right-hander. "He has good deception in his delivery, a plus fastball, and a good slider and changeup. His stuff is not complicated. He's just doing what he does very well."

Jason Bulger's eighth inning wasn't as smooth. The right-hander, who is battling Francisco Rodriguez for the final bullpen spot, gave up two runs on two hits and a walk.

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--Mike DiGiovanna, reporting from Phoenix

Photo: Matt Palmer delivers a pitch against the A's on Friday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire

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