Angels trade Scott Downs to Atlanta for Cory Rasmus.

Scott  Downs

Scott Downs’ 1.84 earned-run average was the lowest among Angels relievers. (Getty Images)

The Angels traded Scott Downs to the Atlanta Braves for Triple-A pitcher Cory Rasmus on Monday, two days before baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Rasmus, who made his major-league debut in May, is the brother of Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus. He’ll go straight to Triple-A Salt Lake. The Angels recalled left-handed reliever Nick Maronde from Double-A Arkansas and activated him for tonight’s game in Texas (4 p.m. PST, ESPN).

Downs was the Angels’ only healthy left-handed relief pitcher, and an effective one at age 37. Maronde inherits that mantle until or unless Sean Burnett is able to return from the disabled list, where he’s been stashed since May 28 due to left elbow impingement. Burnett only recently began throwing off a mound.

Until he allowed two runs in one-third of an inning Saturday in Oakland, Downs had pitched in 29 straight games without allowing a run — one shy of the franchise record. Downs has never pitched in the postseason but will get a good chance with the Braves, who lead the National League East by 8 ½ games.

Downs signed with the Angels as a free agent prior to the 2011 season and pitched in 160 games the last three seasons, going 9-7 with a 2.10 earned-run average. His trade isn’t necessarily the beginning of a fire sale in Anaheim.

But, along with Albert Pujolspotentially season-ending trip to the disabled list, it is a sign that the Angels’ sense of urgency for this year is gone. They trail the Oakland A’s by 13 games for first place in the American League West. They have lost three straight and six of their last eight to fall to 48-55.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the 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.