Jim Abbott has made his first exhibition start. His next one will count. Despite a shaky four-inning effort in California's 6-5 loss to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday and no minor-league experience, Abbott was named to the Angels' starting rotation. He'll most likely make his first big-league start April 8 against Seattle at Anaheim Stadium.

"I'm real excited, real thrilled. This is a pretty big moment," said the 21-year-old Abbott, who was born without a right hand. "I didn't really expect it, but I wanted it real bad."

Abbott allowed six hits and two runs, walking one, striking out three and throwing two wild pitches. He was tough in the clutch, striking out Jack Clark with two runners on base to end the third inning and getting Mark Parent to hit into an inning-ending double play in the fourth.

In 17 innings this spring, all in relief until Wednesday, Abbott has allowed 24 hits and 10 runs.