LOS ANGELES -- In the past 16 months, the Angels have signed two bona fide superstars to nine-figure deals and seen another emerge from their farm system.
So, Mike Scioscia's expectations for his club should be larger than ever. Right?
"Our expectations haven't grown or gotten any higher because of some of the star power that has come over here in the last year or two," the Angels' manager said. "But we're excited about this team -- maybe not for the same reasons as the media."
Scioscia pointed to the bullpen, the overall team defense and the lineup's cohesion as areas he feels the media has overlooked this spring, while focusing solely on superstars like Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols.
Although the Angels haven't made the postseason since 2009, the sense of urgency hasn't changed either for Scioscia.
"You have to play well to win, and there's not a baseball team starting the season that isn't trying to win and doesn't have a sense of urgency to win," Scioscia said. "We certainly do. You've just got to focus on the steps that lead you to that."
Wilson says calf that was hit feels fine
LOS ANGELES -- Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson said his calf felt fine a day after he was hit by a line drive while pitching his final spring game against the Giants' Triple-A affiliate.
In fact, Wilson said the calf was never an issue at all. He stayed on the hill in the sixth and then came back out for the seventh, before finishing his day with 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia was pleased with Wilson's length on Thursday (he threw 89 pitches) and said it bodes well heading into his first start of the season.
"He felt good -- he got up and down seven times," Scioscia said. "He got hit on the calf with a comebacker, but he's fine, and he'll be ready to go Game 2 next Wednesday."
In four Cactus League starts, Wilson posted a 7.11 ERA and allowed 23 hits in 12 2/3 innings. But that line is mostly reflective of one poor start against Kansas City last Friday, when he allowed six earned runs in 2 2/3 frames.
Vargas feels OK despite down outing
LOS ANGELES -- There were plenty of negatives about Jason Vargas' final spring outing Friday: the eight runs, the lack of command in the zone, the 60 pitches that produced just 34 strikes and the inability to work out of a pair of jams.
But the lone positive outweighed them all: When all is said and done, none of those dreadful numbers will matter.
Vargas capped an up-and-down Spring Training with an outing that was definitively "down." He gave up eight runs on seven hits in just an 1 1/3 innings in the Angels' game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
But the poor line will likely prove far less consequential than Vargas' assertion that he's physically ready for his regular-season debut, which is tentatively slated for next Friday in Texas.
"I got behind in the count, let them see too many pitches and got hit hard with runners on base," Vargas said. "They put some good swings on some bad pitches and some good pitches. There's nothing I can do about it. Just prepare for the next start. You've got no choice but to be ready [for the regular season]."
The disappointing outing comes after Vargas looked sharp in tossing six innings of one-run ball against San Francisco on Sunday. In Cactus League play, the former Mariner posted a 4.71 ERA in 21 innings -- the most of any Angels pitcher.
How does Vargas evaluate his spring as a whole? In a word: "OK." He was pleased that he was able to build to a high enough pitch count in his previous five starts, even though the results weren't always there.
Vargas' night couldn't have started off much worse than it did. He surrendered four first-inning hits -- the last of which was a grand slam by Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. On a 2-1 pitch, Vargas grooved a fastball that Ellis crushed to straightaway center field.
"I wanted it down and away, and it was just up and out over the plate," Vargas said. "I probably got a little too amped up and was trying to do too much with it, and he put a good swing on it."
It didn't get much better in the second. Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett singled to start the frame, and Vargas' night ended when Luis Cruz's two-run double gave the Dodgers an 8-3 lead.
• The Angels will fly to Cincinnati on Sunday morning with their season opener set for Monday at 1:10 p.m. PT against the Reds.
• The Angels' roster will be finalized following Saturday night's Freeway Series finale in Anaheim, Scioscia said. He'll have to cement two bullpen spots, and backup catcher, infield and outfield roles.
• Scioscia on if there's anything that hasn't been covered this spring: "We've pretty much peeled the paint off this thing. It seemed like 150 days of Spring Training. There's not much more to look at."