Scouting report

BOB ELLIOTT

, Last Updated: 6:39 AM ET

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Los Angeles Angels looked long and hard at Atlanta Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche this off-season.

In the end the Angels would not part with pitching and the Braves sent LaRoche, coming off a season in which he drove in 94 runs, to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

So, the No. 1 question for the Angels, who may have the best starting staff in the American League West, is where will the offence come from?

In landing free-agent centre fielder Gary Matthews, who signed a five-year $50 million US deal, the Angels have an outfield to envy with Garret Anderson in left and Vladimir Guerrero in right.

Guerrero is the No. 1 power supply. The difficult thing for opposing pitchers is that since Guerrero is such a good bad-ball hitter, he's tough to pitch around. The former Montreal Expos star can hit balls off his shoelaces or up around his eyes.

Matthews was mostly a fourth outfielder before a breakout season with a .313 average 19 homers and 79 RBIs for the Texas Rangers in 2006.

The Angels have to decide who will play on the right side of the infield. Casey Kotchman, Kendry Morales, Robb Quinlan and Dallas McPherson will compete for first base.

And they have the next seven weeks to decide who plays second. Howie Kendrick is the front-runner over Maicer Izturis.

Chone Figgins saw time there in 2006, but likely will own third base.

The Angels rotation is set with John Lackey (13-11, 3.56 earned run average), former Jay Kelvim Escobar (11-14, 3.61), Ervin Santana (16-8, 4.28) and Jered Weaver (11-2, 2.56).

Lefty Joe Saunders (7-3, 4.71 ERA) will fill in until Bartolo Colon recovers from a partially torn right rotator cuff.

Colon was behind other pitchers when they starters and relievers threw their first official bullpens yesterday morning.


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