Mechanics adjustments paid off for Wilson in debut

Angels lefty pleased with strike percentage in three-inning outing

Mechanics adjustments paid off for Wilson in debut

MESA, Ariz. -- C.J. Wilson spent his winter watching video and working out ways to put some struggles down the stretch last year behind him, so his first Cactus League outing of 2015 was an opportunity to put those adjustments into effect between the lines.

Wilson was pleased with how things went in his three innings against the A's at Hohokam Stadium on Saturday afternoon, an outing in which the Angels' veteran lefty threw 41 pitches, allowing two hits while walking none and striking out two.

"I've been looking forward to this all offseason," Wilson said after his outing. "I've been working on my mechanics a lot, so I feel like that kind of paid off today. ... Today was pretty good, a lot of strikes."

Getting his percentage of strikes up and extending his pitch count deeper into games is at the forefront of the changes Wilson needed to make this offseason. In 2014, he threw at least 105 pitches in 14 of his first 15 starts, but only five of last 16, lasting just two-thirds of an inning in his second to last start of the regular season and again in his American League Division Series start against the Royals.

If not for a pair of errors on one play in his third inning that led to an unearned run, he might have been even more efficient Saturday.

"I'm more concerned with my location than anything else," Wilson said. "If I'm locating now, then that's a trend and I have less stuff to work on. The better you are at the beginning, the less stuff you have to correct."

With that said, Wilson knows as well as anyone that there is still work to be done out here in Arizona, and that really the proof will be in how he performs in the summertime.

"Look, there's a lot of innings left to throw," Wilson said. "Regardless of how well a Spring Training outing goes, the only thing that counts is how you finish the season and stuff like that. Obviously, I didn't end the season on a high note."

Said Angels manager Mike Scioscia: "C.J. wasn't locked in in the second half, we know that. I think that's behind him and he'll be ready to get off to a good start this year."

• They'd already showed a couple of hit-and-run plays and a safety squeeze, and then the Angels broke out the five-man infield -- not that they wanted to after holding the lead and then losing it in the ninth inning Saturday.

"I guess it was a situational day for us," Scioscia said after the game, which ended when a grounder hit pitcher Edgar Ibarra's foot and bounced high in the air, allowing the winning run to score to cap an 8-7 A's comeback.

• The Angels held a 6-1 lead through six innings, but rough outings for Cam Bedrosian (three earned runs, one-third of an inning in the seventh) and Nate Smith (two earned runs, one inning in the eighth) brought the A's back in the game.

• The Angels' brightest spot at the plate was Efren Navarro, who went 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBIs. "Efren is a guy who did a terrific job for us last year," Scioscia said of Navarro, who started in left field Saturday. "He looks good in the outfield, he looks good at first base and at the plate."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.