Petit sharp in 2-inning debut for Angels

Roster hopeful also preparing to join Venezuela in Classic

Petit sharp in 2-inning debut for Angels

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit took the mound Saturday at Tempe Diablo Stadium with two key objectives in mind: Make a strong initial case for a spot on the Angels' pitching staff and continue his preparation for the World Baseball Classic.

Petit accomplished both by breezing through two innings in the Angels' 2-0 win over the Brewers in their Cactus League opener. The 32-year-old veteran gave up one hit and struck out two, jumpstarting a combined four-hit shutout of Milwaukee.

"I felt good today," Petit said. "Everything was working good. I appreciate that the team gave me the ball, especially for this game."

Petit, who signed a Minor League deal with the Angels, is vying for a spot in the club's starting rotation or bullpen, though he has a better shot of winning a job as a reliever. Petit spent 2016 with the Nationals, posting a 4.50 ERA while working primarily out of the bullpen. Over nine seasons in the big leagues, he has a 4.58 ERA, helping the Giants win the World Series in 2012 and '14.

Petit will not have the full spring to make an impression with the Angels, as he is slated to play for Venezuela in the Classic next month, alongside teammates Jose Alvarez and Deolis Guerra. Still, manager Mike Scioscia said Petit's departure from camp will not hurt his chances of making the club due to his extensive body of work in the Majors.

"If he was a younger kid that didn't have a track record, there might be some more blanks you have to fill in," Scioscia said. "But we know what he can do. His stuff looked good today. If he can hit his spots, we know he has success that he's shown in the Major Leagues. The fact that he's playing in the WBC shouldn't hinder him."

Petit said he will stay at Angels camp until March 7, when Team Venezuela is scheduled to hold a workout in Arizona before heading to Jalisco, Mexico, to open pool play against Puerto Rico on March 10. He is not sure whether he will be used as a starter or as a reliever during the tournament, so he is preparing for both roles.

"I'm super excited because it's my first time wearing the jersey for Venezuela," Petit said.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.