Guerrero says no hard feelings against Angels - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Guerrero says no hard feelings against Angels

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Posted: Monday, March 8, 2010 5:19 pm | Updated: 3:40 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Vladimir Guerrero smiled when asked if he hopes to prove he is still a productive player.

Texas' aging slugger is focused more on staying on the field, insisting before his first spring game against the Los Angeles Angels that he has no hard feelings for his former team.

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"I just want God to keep me healthy and whatever happens happens," Guerrero said Monday through an interpreter. "I always smile, I'm always happy. I try not to change."

Guerrero went 1 for 2 in the Rangers' 13-9 loss. He had a deep flyout on the first pitch he saw and later a bloop single. He then scored from first on Ian Kinsler's double into the left-field corner.

"He looked great. He really was running well, he looks in good shape, hit the ball well," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Last year, he just got behind (with injuries). ... He was swimming upstream for a long time. But you can see when he's healthy, he still does it."

The Angels showed little interest in retaining the eight-time All-Star and former American League MVP after he had two stints on the disabled list last season for a torn right pectoral muscle and strained left knee.

After the Angels signed free-agent Hideki Matsui and kept Bobby Abreu, the 35-year-old Guerrero got a one-year contract with the AL West-rival Rangers that guarantees him $6.5 million and includes a mutual option for 2011.

"Sometimes you think a lot," Guerrero said when asked if it was difficult to leave the Angels. "But I feel good here."

Guerrero will be primarily a designated hitter for the Rangers, though he will play a few games in right field.

Facing Ervin Santana in the first, Guerrero drove the first pitch to deep right field. Terry Evans leaped near the wall to make the catch.

"It was fun. I can't hold my laugh, but still got him out," said Santana, adding that his former teammate also was laughing when he stepped to the plate. "If he elevated it a little bit more, yeah, it's going out. ... The only way to get him out is throw it right in the middle."

Santana pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring start, allowing only a single to Josh Hamilton.

Hamilton was 2 for 3 with a run scored in his first spring game after being limited by a bruised left shoulder. He was injured when he fell down going for a popup during drills Feb. 24. He caught two fly balls in left field against the Angels.

"Body-wise, I felt good. At bat, I felt great," Hamilton said. "I felt like I really hadn't missed any time. I felt calm at the plate, I felt like I was under control, felt like I saw the ball good out of the pitcher's hand."

Guerrero insists he doesn't know if the Angels tried to keep him.

"I felt good playing with them," Guerrero said. "I played well when I was there."

Guerrero helped lead the Angels to five AL West titles during his six seasons in Southern California, winning the AL MVP award in 2004. He began his career in Montreal and is a .321 hitter with 407 homers and 1,318 RBIs in 1,850 games.

Guerrero is a .396 career hitter against Texas, and has 14 homers and 33 RBIs in 50 games at Rangers Ballpark.

"He's a difference maker. His asset to us is his bat and as often as we can get him out there and use it, I want to. He's been good," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's not limping. He certainly draws a crowd, a crowd of his teammates. He talks to them a lot, something he doesn't do a whole lot of, and I think his teammates are drawing it out of him."

Hampered by injuries last season, Guerrero hit .295 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs in 100 games, his lowest totals since he was a rookie for the Expos in 1997.

"Last year because of the knee surgery, I couldn't do the same things to prepare," he said. "This year, I just do the normal things and work hard to be ready for the season. I feel good."

There also was another significant offseason change for Guerrero, who became a U.S. citizen on the same day he reported to Rangers camp. The Dominican Republic native was sworn in as a U.S. citizen in Los Angeles on Feb. 19.

Guerrero said being a citizen makes it easier for his mother — who constantly cooks meals for her son, his teammates and other Dominican players — to travel in the United States.

"She was in the Dominican during the offseason," he said. "Now she is here for spring training."

EXTRA BASES: Angels 1B Kendry Morales, who was a week late reporting to camp while waiting for immigration paperwork to be completed, had two RBI singles in his spring debut.

Mike Napoli and Brandon Wood homered for Los Angeles.

Rangers RHP Colby Lewis threw 20 of his 26 pitches for strikes, but gave up the homer to Napoli on a curveball.

Texas starter Brandon McCarthy allowed a walk and three singles to the first four batters. He struck out two and gave up two runs in two innings.

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