ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ricky Nolasco will make his Angels debut Thursday against the Oakland A's, three days after coming to Los Angeles in a trade from the Minnesota Twins.
Nolasco, who was born in nearby Corona, Calif., was happy to learn he was heading back home to pitch.
"I'm just excited to be back in California and doing what I can to help the Angels win as many games as possible," Nolasco told the Orange County Register.
Nolasco, though, was not the reason the Angels traded their top pitcher this season -- Hector Santiago -- to the Twins. Alex Meyer, a hard-throwing, 6-foot-9 right-hander, was the key to the deal. Meyer, however, has yet to reach his lofty potential and was sent by the Angels to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Nolasco was more of a salary dump, though the Twins are picking up a portion of his salary. He is making a guaranteed $12 million this year and will receive $12 million next year.
After winning 13 games combined playing for the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, Nolasco signed a four-year, $49 million contract with the Twins, but he was a bust. In 2 1/2 years with the Twins, Nolasco went 15-22 with a 5.44 ERA in 57 games (56 starts). He was 4-8 with a 5.13 ERA in 21 starts this year.
Nolasco, though, isn't discouraged.
"I understand what happened there," he said. "I feel I pitched better than the numbers say."
Likewise, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he believes the 33-year-old right-hander still has some good games left in him.
"When we've seen him up close, he's always been tough on us," Scioscia said. "He spins the ball very well, and he has a fastball that has movement on it. Hopefully he can put pitches together and get another pitch or try and adapt a little bit and find some consistency. But his stuff is good."
In four career starts against the A's, Nolasco is 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA.
Nolasco will be opposed Thursday starter by Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn, who will be called up from Triple-A Nashville for the fourth time this season.
Hahn went 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his first stint with the A's, 1-3 with an 8.34 ERA in his second stint, then 0-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his third stint. In eight starts overall, he is 2-4 with a 5.53 ERA.
Against the Angels on Thursday, Hahn will have the benefit of pitching under the sun. He is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in four daytime starts this year, as opposed to 1-3 with an 9.92 ERA in four nighttime starts. Thursday's game sort of falls in the middle, scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m. PDT.
Hahn also can lean on his two career starts against the Angels, both coming last year, when he went 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA.
Though Hahn has not been a mainstay in the A's rotation this season, he has accomplished one major goal -- staying healthy. He missed time last year with a strained forearm, which caused some concern.
"The main objective is just to be healthy," Hahn told the San Francisco Chronicle back in spring training. "I got my base a little stronger, and I'm hoping to incorporate my legs more."