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Meyer, Chavez open fifth-starter competition

MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels got their first look at two rotation hopefuls on Wednesday when right-handers Jesse Chavez and Alex Meyer each pitched two scoreless innings in the club's 3-2 walk-off win over the Rangers at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Chavez took the mound first and struck out three in his first start since last spring. The 33-year-old veteran worked exclusively out of the bullpen with the Blue Jays and Dodgers last year, though he said he's excited about getting the opportunity to start again.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels got their first look at two rotation hopefuls on Wednesday when right-handers Jesse Chavez and Alex Meyer each pitched two scoreless innings in the club's 3-2 walk-off win over the Rangers at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Chavez took the mound first and struck out three in his first start since last spring. The 33-year-old veteran worked exclusively out of the bullpen with the Blue Jays and Dodgers last year, though he said he's excited about getting the opportunity to start again.

"[I was] a little anxious," said Chavez, who allowed one hit. "I was probably ready probably an hour too soon. But just being able to get out there -- especially the first outing with a new team -- I wanted to get off right. Today went in the right direction."

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Chavez signed a one-year, $5.75 million deal with the Angels over the offseason and is a frontrunner in the open competition for the fifth-starter spot, though he could also be used as a reliever if he struggles in the rotation. But Chavez made it clear that his preference is to start, even if it means having to fight for the role.

"Subconsciously, yeah, I want to keep that mentality that it's mine to lose," Chavez said. "I hope everyone is keeping that mentality. But it's nothing new for me. I've been in that situation before. Every veteran should have to go through that, where you need somebody pushing you behind the scenes, so to speak. I relish it because it's going to make me better. You don't want to get complacent in this game. And by you always having competition, it makes it that much more fun. I'm out there rooting for those guys, just as they're rooting for me."

Meyer, who is also in contention to be the Angels' fifth starter, took over for Chavez in the third.

The 27-year-old prospect worked on speeding up his delivery over the offseason to avoid shoulder trouble, but he said he felt like he was going too fast in his first inning of work, which resulted in back-to-back walks to Doug Bernier and Andy Ibanez. Still, Meyer settled down after a mound visit from pitching coach Charles Nagy, inducing a 3-6-1 double-play to escape the jam. He pitched a perfect fourth, notching one strikeout.

Video: TEX@LAA: Meyer covers first base on double play

"I was a little faster than I needed to be in the first inning, especially with my fastball," Meyer said. "I felt like in the second inning my fastball command was much better, but I also slowed down. It's just going to be a matter of finding consistency, especially when you've got batters in there and everything. But overall, I'm happy I got out of it."

Manager Mike Scioscia has said that the Angels view Meyer as a starter, meaning he'll likely open the season in Triple-A Salt Lake if he's unable to win a spot in the rotation rather than work as a reliever in the Major League bullpen.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Jesse Chavez, Alex Meyer