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ANGELS NOTEBOOK: PITCHERS COMPETE FOR BULLPEN SPOT.



Byline: Gabe Lacques Staff Writer

PEORIA, Ariz. - The unlikely career opportunities that came knocking for Jake Woods Jacob Thomas Woods (born on September 3, 1981 in Fresno, California) is a left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who plays for the Seattle Mariners of the American League.  and Chris Bootcheck Christopher Brandon ("Chris") Bootcheck (b. October 24, 1978 in LaPorte, Indiana) is a pitcher splitting time between the minor leagues and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He made his Major League debut with the then-Anaheim Angels on September 9, 2003.  are producing compelling competition as the Angels enter the final week of training camp.

Starting pitchers by trade, Woods and Bootcheck are waging a spirited battle for the last bullpen spot, a duel that heated up Thursday when Bootcheck tossed two scoreless innings in a 9-1 victory over the San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay.  Padres.

Each have thrown 10 Cactus League innings; Woods has given up seven hits and one run, Bootcheck eight hits and no runs. Bootcheck has the pedigree of being a former No. 1 pick, and Woods gives the Angels a dimension they've lacked since 2002 - a full-time lefty in the bullpen.

``It's good competition,'' manager Mike Scioscia
    Michael Lorri "Mike" Scioscia (born November 27 1958 in Morton, Pennsylvania) is a former catcher and current Major League Baseball manager. His last name is pronounced SO-shuh. He is often referred to by the nickname Sosh.
     said, ``and we're going to have a better staff because of this competition.''

    Woods watched on television when Jarrod Washburn Jarrod Michael Washburn (born August 13, 1974 in La Crosse, Wisconsin) is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners. Drafted by the California Angels in the 2nd round of the 1995 amateur draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Washburn won the final game  was summoned from the bullpen and threw the pitch that David Ortiz David Ortiz (born November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a Major League Baseball designated hitter who has played for the Boston Red Sox since 2003. Previously, Ortiz played for the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002).  hit over Fenway Park's Green Monster This article is about the left-field wall at Fenway Park. For other uses, see Green Monster (disambiguation).

    The Green Monster (often known simply as The Monster or The Wall) is the nickname of the 37-foot, two-inch (11.
     last October, ending the Angels' season. But Woods never figured he'd be the answer to their lefty-less bullpen quandary.

    A few weeks into camp, he's starting to relish the notion. After four minor-league years spent as a starter, he could find himself in tight spots against the likes of Eric Chavez Eric Cesar Chavez (pronounced CHA-vez) (born December 7, 1977 in Los Angeles, California) is a Mexican-American third baseman in Major League Baseball who has played for the Oakland Athletics since 1998. , Hank Blalock and Ichiro Suzuki.

    ``That would be great,'' he said. ``That's how you get good: facing big-league guys. Even if I fail, it shows me where I'm at.''

    The Angels like how his big curveball and decent fastball could play against opposing lefties.

    Bootcheck, a first-round pick in the 2000 draft, is 26 and at a career crossroads. So he swallowed his pride last fall and reported to instructional league, where, among players years his junior, he concentrated solely on developing a split-fingered fastball.

    ``I made up my mind I'd go in with a good attitude, and if I got hit, I got hit,'' said Bootcheck, whose ERA soared to 5.12 at Triple-A Salt Lake last year. ``It's a step backward from where I've pitched, but that's where the mental part comes in - taking a step back to go forward.''

    --The Word: Paul Byrd has fulfilled his desire to make a good first impression on the Angels. Their new starter pitched six scoreless innings against the Padres and has a 2.25 ERA.

    Gabe Lacques, (626) 962-8811

    gabe.lacques(at)sgvn.com

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    Article Details
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    Title Annotation:Sports
    Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
    Date:Mar 25, 2005
    Words:409
    Previous Article:SOME ARE HOT, SOME ARE NOT.
    Next Article:DODGERS NOTEBOOK: PEREZ PENCILED IN FOR 2ND GAME.



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