Angels pitcher Sean Burnett returning to the disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Sean BurnettAngels pitcher Sean Burnett had surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow last October and is still dealing with the aftereffects.

An examination Tuesday revealed inflammation in the back of the elbow, and the Angels placed Burnett on the disabled list for the second time this season. Even though the source of pain has been different, both of Burnett’s DL stints have been related to the surgically repaired elbow, which has cost him 22 games already.

“It just all relates to that surgery I had,” he said. “My elbow’s got more movement to do. It’s inflaming itself, just reacting to that space. It’s used to those bone spurs being there.”

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Daily Distractions: Apparent blown call revisited; Angels’ initial budget was $5 million.

Did the blown call at first base in yesterday’s game matter?

It’s a valid enough question to be debating it today. Albert Pujols, who had three hits in the game, was on deck. He’s batted four times in his career against Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen and has one hit, a home run.

If the Angels indeed go on another winning streak today, and this stands as the only defeat in a stretch of wins, the play will loom large. A one-run loss decided by a blown call in the eighth inning? Not too much to hang your head about there.

Some more bullet points for a Tuesday morning:

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Dr. Lewis Yocum, Angels’ team orthopedist, dies.

Angels team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum has died, the team announced. Yocum had been battling cancer. He was 65.

Yocum was a protege of Dr. Frank Jobe, who invented the Tommy John surgery that has saved numerous players’ careers since it was first performed in 1974. The Angels named their training room after Yocum in May.

The Angels issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

The Angels family and Major League Baseball have lost one of baseball’s finest gentlemen and truly outstanding professionals with the passing of Dr. Lewis Yocum earlier this weekend.  His talents extended the careers of countless professional athletes, and provided extended quality of life for so many others he advised, treated and operated on during his distinguished career, including 36 years with the Angels.  His contributions and impact in the medical field will long be remembered  across the country.  He represents the standard for others in his profession to attain.  He was a loving husband to his wife Beth and proud father of children Donald and Laura.  MLB and the Angels organization sends its deepest sympathies to the Yocum family at this difficult time.

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Tommy Hanson’s next start will be for the Angels. Who will he replace?

Tommy Hanson’s next start will be with the Angels, manager Mike Scioscia said Monday.

Hanson threw a five-inning, 75-pitch simulated game last Saturday in Arizona. The right-hander has been on the restricted list since May 10 as he deals with the aftermath of his stepbrother’s death. But with Hanson coming back, it could put additional pressure on Tuesday’s starter, Joe Blanton.

Blanton signed a one-year, $3.725 million contract in the off-season but has done little to justify keeping his spot in the rotation. The right-hander is 1-7 with a 6.19 earned-run average; his loss total and ERA rank second and third from the bottom of the American League, respectively.

Jerome Williams began the season in the Angels’ bullpen but has gone 3-1 with a 3.19 earned-run average as a starter. Williams’ next turn in the rotation is Friday against the Houston Astros.

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Daily Distractions: Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols juxtaposed; rekindling Mike Trout vs. Miguel Cabrera.

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols’ running can be painful to watch; lately his batting average has been suffering too. (Associated Press photo)

A visiting beat writer at Sunday’s game watched one of Albert Pujols‘ three strikeouts and marveled at what he saw. The swing-and-miss at strike three, down and away, simply wasn’t the same Pujols. In fact, it looked a little like Josh Hamilton did earlier this month.

Hamilton seems to be coming around, as I wrote in my game story yesterday. Pujols, who is batting .198 since April 21, does not.

Writes Joe Posnanski: “After years of being the best player in baseball, Pujols is now sort of beside the point.”

Mike Scioscia said something interesting after the game. I asked him if the Angels’ patience at the plate (they walked twice with the bases loaded and Hamilton averaged five pitches per at-bat) was evidence of a team that isn’t pressing as much, something Scioscia reprimanded his team for a couple nights earlier. His answer:

“I think we’re seeing some guys maybe use the whole field. As you try to get simpler, get more comfortable in the game, the things you talk about show up — you see the guys get in deeper counts, get a pitch, take a walk, hit the ball the other way, get better pitches to hit. Those things start to go in a positive direction. Hopefully he’ll keep taking strides toward it.”

Wait, who’s “he”?

I didn’t ask that because I didn’t catch Scioscia’s choice of pronouns until I listened to my tape after the game. But it isn’t hard to figure out — it’s Hamilton, who was hitting line drives to the opposite field, taking a walk, and going deeper into counts as if he was Mike Trout. Pujols was not.

For Pujols’ legacy, sure, we’re witnessing a turning point. As a key to the Angels’ success, it remains to be seen how long they can survive Pujols’ slump.

Some bullet points for a Monday morning:

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Chris Nelson is ready to settle down with the Angels.

Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson was claimed by the Angels on Saturday, after he was designated for assignment by the New York Yankees, and added to the major-league roster Sunday. (Associated Press photo)

Chris Nelson didn’t see it coming.

For almost nine years the Colorado Rockies were the only organization Nelson knew, beginning the day he was drafted ninth overall in 2004 and ending when he was traded to the New York Yankees on May 1. After playing 10 games for the Yankees, Nelson was designated for assignment on May 15. On Saturday he joined the Angels, his third organization in three weeks.

“We’ve been living out of a suitcase for too long now,” Nelson said.

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Sean Burnett could join the Angels’ bullpen Tuesday.

"<strongIn spite of his 9.00 Single-A earned-run average, Sean Burnett said that his rehabilitation assignment Saturday went well.

Well enough that he might not need another.

“I’ll play catch today. If that goes well, I’ll talk to the front office and hopefully they’ll let me go Tuesday,” Burnett said.

The left-hander, who’s been out since April 26 with stiffness in his right forearm, gave up a home run and induced three ground balls in his lone inning of work for the Inland Empire 66ers. More importantly, he didn’t feel any pain in the forearm.
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Salt Lake shuffle: Ryan Madson, Luis Jimenez, Kole Calhoun, Barry Enright in; Bill Hall out.

If you’ve flown between John Wayne airport and Salt Lake City at any point this season, your odds of bumping into an Angels player are pretty high. The Angels have been busy burning a path from Anaheim to their Triple-A affiliate, having used 36 batters and 20 pitchers this season — both tied for second in the league.

Sunday might have been the busiest day of them all.
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Angels’ Sean Burnett will pitch tomorrow for Inland Empire; Kevin Jepsen could follow.

Angels left-hander Sean Burnett is scheduled to pitch an inning tomorrow for Single-A Inland Empire, his first rehabilitation assignment since going on the disabled list with tightness in his left forearm.

Burnett hasn’t pitched since April 26.

Kevin Jepsen hasn’t been scheduled to pitch a rehab game yet, but “he’s going to be close to a rehab game this weekend too, if not this weekend then early next week,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Jepsen has been sidelined since April 12 with a strained right shoulder.

Ryan Madson is taking a pause in his rehabilitation schedule. The right-hander threw an inning four days ago for Single-A Inland Empire and was supposed to go to to Triple-A Salt Lake on his next assignment. That might not happen now, though his next outing will be a rehab assignment somewhere.

“He was going really hard for a week,” Scioscia said. Madson is “just trying to catch his breath and recover.”

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Jered Weaver is ready to make a rehab start after simulated game at Angel Stadium.

Jered Weaver

Jered Weaver threw a simulated game Friday, his first since going on the disabled list April 8. (Associated Press)

Jered Weaver couldn’t sleep last night. He had a big game today.

It was a simulated game with no fans, and only a few players and media and coaches, in attendance. But Weaver was psyched up.

“That’s how excited I was,” he said. “I haven’t been able to do it (pitch) in five weeks.”
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