Pederson shows off defense, as 'pen hopefuls share duties

Puig collides with Kendrick, but is expected to be available Friday

Pederson shows off defense, as 'pen hopefuls share duties

ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout homered in his first at-bat at Angel Stadium this year and Yasiel Puig exited after a scary collision with Howie Kendrick on Thursday night, as the Angels beat the Dodgers, 3-2, in the opener of the three-game, exhibition Freeway Series.

To lead off the bottom of the fifth, Trout skied a high popup that sent Kendrick and Puig toward shallow right field. Both drifted initially, waiting to be called off, and Puig sprinted in just before the ball fell in, catching Kendrick's left elbow to his chin and throat, after which he lay on the ground for a couple of minutes.

Trout ended up with a triple and Puig walked off the field after being checked on by Dodgers athletic trainer Stan Conte.

Puig's apparent injury

Puig said he was fine after the game and is expected to be available Friday.

Earlier, Trout caught the ceremonial first pitch from prolific New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, then hit a first-inning solo homer just over the scoreboard in right-center field, his fifth this spring. The Angels added a run on a fourth-inning RBI single by C.J. Cron -- batting .426 -- and a fifth-inning sacrifice fly by Albert Pujols.

Gronkowski told Trout he was going to spike the first pitch, then fired a bullet to Trout.

"I'm glad I caught it," Trout said. "It almost hit me in the face."

Kendrick -- playing in his first game at Angel Stadium since the December trade -- received drawn-out applause his first time up and finished 1-for-3, while getting robbed with a leaping catch by new Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella.

Giavotella's leaping catch

Matt Shoemaker, who will make his first regular-season start Wednesday in Seattle, gave up one run on five hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings, finishing the spring with a 4.26 ERA.

Shoemaker wanted to hone "the crispness of my pitches" in his last spring start.

"I felt like that was a little bit better this time," Shoemaker said. "I always want to keep getting better every time I pitch. That was definitely key, and I felt like we accomplished that."

The Dodgers had a bullpen game, with eight relievers each accounting for an inning. Sergio Santos served up the homer to Trout, with Pedro Baez and Adam Liberatore following with scoreless innings. Josh Ravin was charged with two runs in one-plus innings.

Up next: Right-hander Brandon McCarthy will start for the Dodgers against the Angels at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Angel Stadium, airing free on MLB.TV. He's coming off his best start of the spring, throwing 91 pitches and working into the sixth inning Sunday against the Rangers. McCarthy is scheduled to make his first regular-season start Wednesday against San Diego at Dodger Stadium.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.