Angels rookie Michael Roth is a reliever. For now.

Michael Roth

Michael Roth has four made consecutive scoreless relief appearances for the Angels. (Getty Images)

Just as Michael Roth is figuring things out as a reliever, his future as a starting pitcher might get in the way.

There’s no question the Angels have a decision to make on their second-round draft pick from a year ago, whose scoreless inning Sunday marked his fourth straight appearance without allowing a run. “I’ve been on time, rhythm wise,” he said.

Yet the 23-year-old left-hander was drafted as a starting pitcher out of the University of South Carolina, and that’s how he has been used during his brief time in the minors.

“He still needs to develop. He’ll go down at some point in his career to start, just to keep developing,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Roth could be sent down as early as tonight. The Angels have to clear a spot on the 25-man roster for Tommy Hanson to come off the disabled list. Hanson is starting tomorrow against the Minnesota Twins.

11 p.m. update: Roth has been optioned to Double-A Arkansas.

It’s almost a given that the Angels will remove a pitcher from the 25-man roster, with only four position players on the bench.

Billy Buckner, who shuttled between Anaheim and Salt Lake earlier this year, does not have any minor-league options left. Garrett Richards is in a similar position to Roth, a pitcher who can relieve and start and is still young enough at 25 that he could use more innings at Triple-A. Like Roth, Richards has one option year remaining, but the Angels have kept him in the majors all season. That seems unlikely to change.

So Roth may have to re-adjust.

“As far as a routine, throwing every five days and having your rest — you know when you’re throwing so you’re able to kind of gauge that,” he said. “When you’re a reliever, you don’t have as much to base that off of. You throw every day, or you go stretches of four or five days where you don’t have to throw. I have to find what works for me to keep me on time and keep that rhythm going. How do you warm up before? You don’t want to throw 30 pitches as a reliever because you know you’re going to throw 20 in a game and throw the next day as well.

“I think it’s just, ‘see how things shake out.’ I’m 23. I still have a little bit of time. I don’t care what I do as long as I help the team. That’s the most important thing.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.