TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Los Angeles Angels got their first look at the team's new closer and a peek at a potential future starter.
Both pitchers impressed in a 3-1 victory over Oakland on Thursday.Closer Brian Fuentes worked a scoreless inning in front of a sparse crowd of 1,643, allowing two hits and struck out one in an inning."He's got that good command and he threw some real good sliders today, too," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He looked good. He's ready for the WBC."Fuentes saved 115 games for Colorado over the past four season, including 30 in 2008. He was signed as a free agent over the offseason to replace Francisco Rodriguez, who left to join the New York Mets.Fuentes will leave spring training next week to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.Right-hander Jordan Walden, one of the Angels' top prospects, struck out three and allowed two hits in his first start of the spring.Walden's 141 strikeouts led all Angels minor league pitchers last year. He posted a 2.76 ERA over 27 starts at Class-A Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga.Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez went 1-for-3 as the designated hitter. Chavez was limited to 23 games in 2008 due to shoulder and back injuries."It felt good and everything went well," he said. "That was the benefit of having my (own) batting cage. I go to a machine that throws curves and sliders. The coaches don't throw hard enough."Oakland starter Sean Gallagher allowed two hits and a walk in two innings. He struck out three in two innings, working out of jams in each."What it came down to, is the times I really needed to make a pitch, I was able to and I got out of certain situations," said Gallagher, 2-3 with a 5.86 ERA in 11 starts for the A's in 2008 after he was acquired in July from the Chicago Cubs in the Rich Harden deal.Gallagher said he is staying away from his slider, a pitch that puts pressure on his arm."I'm going to wait for a little later on in the spring," he said. "It's a pitch that I can pick up pretty quick, but I think I'd rather just focus on the fastball and command, the changeup and locating that and getting my curveball back to what I know I can do with it."
A's 1B Daric Barton (recovering from hip surgery) has not been cleared to play. He's expected to join the lineup on Tuesday at the earliest. ... RHP Justin Duchscherer is back on a regular throwing program after taking two days off with a sore elbow. "(Bullpen coach) Ron Romanick is taking care of him," A's manager Bob Geren said. "He had a good day (Wednesday)." ... LHP Gio Gonzalez had more success as a relief pitcher with the A's last year, though he remains in contention for a starting spot. "He could go either way," Geren said. "You can say he needs to start because he has starter's stuff but being a reliever, he can get used to the big leagues easier. His whole game is better."