Hamilton homers off Ryu as Angels beat Dodgers

Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — In a big-money Los Angeles matchup, Josh Hamilton hit his first home run in an Angels uniform, connecting off Hyun-Jin Ryu during the first inning of a 16-8 win over a Dodgers' split squad Friday.

Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, left Texas to sign a $125 million, five-year deal with the Angels. He sent a drive to right on a full-count pitch.

"It looked like he hit a changeup," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He hung in there and found a pitch he liked. When he found something he liked, he turned it loose."

After going 0 for 3 against Arizona on Tuesday in his first spring training game, Hamilton was 2 for 2 against the Dodgers, adding a third-inning single against Matt Palmer.

Ryu signed a $36 million, six-year deal with the Dodgers, who also paid a $25,737,737 posting fee to South Korea's Hanwha Eagles for his rights.

In his first spring training start for the Dodgers, Ryu gave up two runs and four hits in two innings with three strikeouts and a walk. He walked AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout in the first ahead of Hamilton's homer.

Ryu, who has lost about 15 pounds since he reported to spring training, pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Angels starter Jered Weaver made his first exhibition appearance and allowed one run and two hits in two innings. Dee Gordon singled in the first, stole second and third and scored on a single by Luis Cruz, who was 3 for 3.

"If you lose that excitement before the first game of spring you probably should not be playing anymore," Weaver said. "You kind of get overamped out there. The second inning, I felt better. It takes a little while to get into the flow of the game again. ... I wasn't really even holding runners today. I'm just focused on getting my mechanics ready for the season."

Weaver was 20-5 with a 2.81 ERA last year and finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting behind Tampa Bay's David Price and Detroit's Justin Verlander.

"I thought he looked great," Scioscia said. "A couple of balls were up a bit. He threw some changeups. He's working on his fastball command, mainly."

Peter Bourjos fouled out leading off the third, then chased Palmer with a three-run triple in the seven-run inning. While Palmer allowed five hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning, all the runs were unearned because of a fielding error by Cruz at third on Chris Iannetta's two-out grounder.

Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen got the win despite allowing three hits and a walk in the third, when Yasiel Puig hit an RBI double and scored on Cruz's double.

NOTES: Scioscia said 1B Albert Pujols will be ready for the April 1 opener at Cincinnati following right knee surgery in October. Pujols, who has not appeared in exhibition games this year, joked he did not need an at-bat to be prepared. "He's not going to need the 40 or 50 or 60 that some guys need, but there's a range where a player gets comfortable not only with seeing velocity, but getting locked in and to get some balance," Scioscia said. "He'll be ready for the season." ... Scioscia said reliever Ryan Madson is playing catch at 90 feet. "He's picking up his intensity a little bit," the manager said. Madson missed last season following elbow surgery and has a sore elbow.

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