“People always talk about us not getting that big bat but this is my eighth year and I remember not too long ago, we had four guys hit 30 or more home runs in the same season and we had an awful year. It really does take 25 guys to work together and a strong pitching staff to win. And I don’t think our offense is as weak as some people might believe.” Last season, the Angels had trouble scoring runs and as a result, they finished in second place in the AL West behind Oakland. But before the season ended, owner Artie Moreno guaranteed the Angels would do something big this offseason and while that never transpired, it’s not as if they sat on their hands either. In addition to Speier and Matthews Jr., who batted .313 last season with 19 home runs and 79 RBI, the Angels also signed Shea Hillenbrand, who batted .277 last year with 21 home runs while splitting time between the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Francisco Giants. Matthews, who’s a fabulous center fielder, is expected to bat leadoff while Hillenbrand can play first and third base or be the designated hitter. “We offered Alfonso Soriano $118 million to come here but it didn’t work out,” Moreno said. “And after I made that guarantee last year, I learned that maybe I shouldn’t put my foot in my mouth anymore. While many of their fans were disappointed that they didn’t acquire a big bat in the offseason to protect Vladimir Guerrero, on Saturday the Angels said they didn’t know what all the fuss was about and they let everybody know it. After taking a year off, the Angels held their third fan fest in the last four years on Saturday in the Angel Stadium parking lot and between 25,000 and 30,000 fans came out to meet and great their favorite players before they leave for spring training. Pitchers and catchers have to report to Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday. “We set out to strength the club this offseason and while we did it differently than we originally planned, the bottom line is winning games and we think we’re going to win a lot of them,” general manager Bill Stoneman said. “Our strength is in our pitching and we think we improved that by signing Justin Speier, who will add depth to our bullpen and we strengthened our defense greatly by signing Gary Matthews Jr. to play center field. “But I told Bill, if you want to make a move during the season that will improve the club, don’t worry about the budget, money won’t be a problem.” Another reason why there is optimism the offense will be better is that Howie Kendrick is expected to be an upgrade at second base offensively over the departed Adam Kennedy. In addition on Saturday, Garret Anderson, who was slowed by foot and hamstring problems all of last year, said he’s completely healthy. “Pitching and defense is the key and we have that,” Matthews said. “And we have Vlad, Garret Anderson and throw Shea Hillenbrand and myself into the mix and we’re going to score some runs. But everybody has to remember, without good pitching, we’re nothing.” Weaver No. 36 Jered Weaver attended on Saturday and after a highly successful rookie campaign in which he won 11 games, he’s already changed. At least his number, that is. Weaver, who wore number 56 last year, switched to 36 this season. “When I was at Long Beach State, I had a lot of success wearing 36 and I’m more comfortable with it,” Weaver said. – Ben VillaDodgers get nodThe Dodgers had forgiven Joe Beimel. But that didn’t mean they had forgotten. Four months after the left-handed reliever cut his pitching hand on a glass while drinking in a bar two nights before the club’s playoff opener – making him unavailable for what became a three-game sweep by the New York Mets – the Dodgers won their arbitration case against Beimel, leaving him with a $912,500 salary for this season. Although it is unclear how much that well-publicized incident played into the decision by a three-person panel, club officials acknowledged it was used against Beimel during Friday’s hearing in Phoenix. The panel rendered its decision on Saturday. “Certainly, it was a part of his season,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “We would have been remiss in not mentioning it, considering the impact it had on the team, on the organization and on the fans.” That incident aside, Beimel was a key figure in the Dodgers’ run to the NL wild card. Called to the majors on May 1, he stayed the rest of the season and posted a 2.96 ERA in 62 appearances. But after cutting himself in that Manhattan bar in the wee hours of Oct. 3 – and after initially telling team officials the incident happened in his hotel room – Beimel was sent back to Los Angeles for treatment. He apologized to teammates in a closed-door meeting before Game 3, but was then sent home from Dodger Stadium by Colletti and manager Grady Little. Soon thereafter, Beimel expressed public remorse over the incident, and Dodgers officials made it clear that all was forgiven. But when the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract for this season – Beimel made $425,000 last year and was seeking $1.25 million this year – the Dodgers were free to rehash the incident in their first arbitration hearing in three years. The Dodgers now have about $103 million, including signing bonuses, committed to 18 players for this season. – Tony Jackson 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!