Garland, Hunter feel right at home
Duo make successful debut at Angel Stadium vs. Dodgers
ANAHEIM -- Jon Garland's first appearance at Angel Stadium in the home colors on Thursday night was pure Garland: a succession of strikes (45 in 68 deliveries), ground balls and easy outs. He was as efficient as a Prius on the open road.
"I enjoy this park -- just watching a game here," Garland said of the stadium that became his new home when the White Sox sent him to the Angels in November for shortstop Orlando Cabrera. "I'm feeling good -- real good. If I can take the same stuff into the season and give the boys a chance to win, I'll be all right."
Twice an 18-game winner and a 2005 World Series champion with the White Sox, Garland will work the second game of the season in Minnesota on Tuesday night, following Jered Weaver.
With 10 of his 15 outs in five strong innings coming on the ground, indicative of a sinking fastball acting as it should, Garland allowed one run in what would be a 2-2 draw in 10 innings. He didn't need any showmanship from the new center fielder, Torii Hunter, also playing his first game at home as an Angel of no mercy.
Hunter singled and had one stolen by Juan Pierre in left, bringing his familiar smile and energy to the park he plans to rock after claiming Rawlings Gold Gloves the past seven seasons for the Twins.
Manager Mike Scioscia once again expressed how happy he is to have Garland and Hunter, former Central Division rivals, on his side in 2008.
"Jon pitched a terrific game," Scioscia said. "He really repeated pitches well, which is what he does when he's going well. It was a good tuneup, and he'll be ready to go."
Asked to describe Garland now that he's seeing him up close, Scioscia made reference to his stature -- he's 6-foot-6, like John Lackey -- and said he was impressed with his baseball IQ.
"He's a student of the game," Scioscia said. "You can't get a good read on a guy until he's in your clubhouse, but he understands pitching. [Pitching coach] Mike Butcher pointed out a few things he's using to try to be more efficient. We're excited to have Jon, and if the defense plays for him, he's going to have a good year."
As for Hunter, who enthusiastically applauded Vladimir Guerrero's two-run homer in the first, Scioscia continues to deliver rave reviews.
"Torii's a guy, looking from the other dugout, you could tell he's a special player," Scioscia said. "He's a joy to be around. He's been a presence from day one -- in the clubhouse, in drills. This guy practices hard and fits right into the clubhouse. He wants to win."
Hunter was beaming. "I love it here," he said. "What could be better than playing in this park, on this grass field, in this weather? I'm a lucky guy to be on this team."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.