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Speier extends perfect spring roll

Speier extends perfect spring roll

PHOENIX -- Justin Speier's perfect spring continued on Saturday against the Dodgers.

Speier, who sets up for closer Francisco Rodriguez along with Scot Shields, made it 15 up, 15 down for the spring when he struck out two of the three men he faced in the Angels' 4-2 victory.

Speier has five strikeouts in his five innings of work, jumping ahead of hitters with superb command and then finishing them off with his impressive repertoire.

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With Shields (forearm stiffness) and Chris Bootcheck (oblique strain) not in prime form, the Angels will be leaning on Speier and Darren Oliver to deliver in front of K-Rod early in the season.

"He's been sharp all spring," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was good in the second half last year. He started off strong, then had the setback with the viral [condition]. We're going to need 'em all -- Shieldsy, Justin, D.O."

Oliver, the lone southpaw in the bullpen, also is in the middle of an excellent spring: seven innings, six hits, one earned run, no walks, five strikeouts.

Rodriguez stretched it out to two innings on Saturday, tuning up for the March 31 season opener in Minnesota. After retiring the side in the fourth with one strikeout and two grounders, he gave up a pair of singles but escaped when Andre Ethier's one-hopper to shortstop was turned into an unusual 6-4-5 double play by Erick Aybar.

"We gave him a chance to get a little feel," Scioscia said of K-Rod's rare venture beyond one inning. "We'll get him back this week to where he's focused on his three outs."

Focused on throwing strikes, K-Rod has given up one earned run on five hits and no walks in seven innings, striking out five.

With the Dodgers not using the designated hitter, Jon Garland pitched in a camp game against an Oakland Triple-A team in Tempe and got in seven scoreless innings. He allowed seven hits and struck out eight with 79 pitches.

Making the start against the Dodgers, free-agent right-hander Shane Loux gave up one run on four hits and a walk. Alex Serrano and Steve Marek finished up after Rodriguez and Speier.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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