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New Left-Hander Jason Vargas ‘Beyond Crafty’

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Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Angels thought enough of left-hander Jason Vargas to deal slugging first baseman and designated hitter Kendrys Morales to the Mariners for him over the offseason with the hopes that Vargas can help stabilize Los Angeles’ rotation.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t seem to be concerned that Vargas gave up 35 home runs in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field last season, tying him for the second-most allowed in the major leagues in 2012.

“I think there have been a lot of guys that have been terrific pitchers that maybe have given up more home runs that you might consider to be average and that’s not going to be the barometer by how they’re measured,” Scioscia said Tuesday. “The bottom line is how effective they are and Jason’s been very effective.

“If he’s going to miss a spot and they’re going to square it up, then so be it. I don’t think that’s going to be the barometer by how he’s going to be evaluated. His numbers are very, very strong.”

Catcher Chris Iannetta said Vargas is “beyond crafty.”

“You can throw a blanket around all the crafty guys,” Iannetta said. “There are lots of throwers these days. There are fewer guys who really know how to pitch and he knows how to pitch. He’ll go deep into games and keep hitters off-balance.”

The 30-year-old Vargas posted a 14-11 record and a 3.85 ERA in 2012 with Seattle.

He joins fellow newcomers Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson.

The deal took Vargas by surprise.

“We’re always the last to know,” said Vargas. “It was a shock. This is a team that competes every year. They’ve always had a good lineup.”

Notes: Albert Pujols took ground balls and Josh Hamilton fly balls Tuesday, the first workout for pitchers and catchers. Position players are scheduled to arrive Thursday.

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