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Originally published Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 8:24 PM

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Former Mariner Jason Vargas 'beyond crafty' as newest Angels pitcher

The Angels thought enough of left-hander Jason Vargas to deal slugging first baseman and designated hitter Kendrys Morales to the Mariners...

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@kayak I disagree...with the Vargas trade the M's picked up a legit 3 or 4 hitter in M... MORE
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TEMPE, Ariz. — 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."

McCarthy downplays

head injury

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Brandon McCarthy does not wish to be known as that player who got hit in the head.

At least for now, though, it's an identity he can't escape. When last seen in a major-league game last Sept. 5, the right-hander — then with the Oakland Athletics — was struck in the head by a vicious line drive.

The results were as frightening as it gets for a pitcher — an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture. At one point, the Athletics called the injuries "life-threatening." Two hours of surgery were required.

Now, cleared to return by the top expert in the field, he has begun spring training with his new team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he and the team seem much more concerned about his history of shoulder problems than with the aftereffects of that scary day.

Such events would be expected to create a greater appreciation of the chance to play a game for a living, or perhaps even gratitude to just be alive.

McCarthy, 29, prefers to downplay the event and its aftermath.

"I don't know if it's a non-cliche answer, but my outlook over everything, it just really hasn't changed because of it," he said. "Doing that just puts more emphasis on what happened and it reflects on it, which isn't something I'm interested in doing."

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