Angels’ C.J. Wilson (shoulder) open to a return to the bullpen

The Angels paper-thin starting rotation will be without C.J. Wilson for at least another month. Wilson, who underwent surgery in August to clean up bone spurs in his left elbow, suffered from a sore shoulder in spring training he believed was a result of the elbow problem.

As of this week, his shoulder strength didn’t meet the medical staff’s standard to begin a throwing program, but he will be tested again in two days.

Wilson, 35, is owed $20 million in the final year of his five-year, $77.5 million contract. He candidly discussed his uncertain future on Monday before the Angels season opener against the Cubs. Wilson hopes to return to the middle of the rotation, but said he was open to pitching out of the bullpen for the first time in six years.

“Yeah, totally. I think about that all the time,” Wilson said. “If I come back and I have some sort of electric stuff… but I can only throw 30 pitches, I think it’s going to be pretty clear that I can help the team out as a reliever. Next year is obviously a whole different ball game for that.” Continue reading

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Can Eppler and Scioscia get along?

Strong story today from Elliott Teaford on the relationship between Angels manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Billy Eppler.
Eppler said he isn’t as interested in the day-to-day micromanagement of baseball decisions as he is being on top of contingencies farther down the road.
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Needing bullpen help, Angels deal for Dane De La Rosa, Elvin Ramirez.

The Angels’ bullpen is an unsettled mess. Their relievers have a collective 7.20 earned-run average in spring training, more than a full run higher than the next-closest team.

Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen, Sean Burnett, Jerome Williams, Scott Downs, Mitch Stetter and David Carpenter all have ERAs above 5. If the Angels choose to send Garrett Richards to Triple-A Salt Lake to get work as a starter (though it’s unlikely in light of his stellar spring), those seven could comprise the Angels’ Opening Day bullpen.

Even though it’s only spring training, the situation was urgent enough for the Angels to add three relievers Wednesday. Before the Angels’ 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers, they announced the signing of Mark Lowe to a minor-league contract. Lowe threw a bullpen Wednesday and is on the travel roster to go to Anaheim.

After the game, the Angels added two more arms to the bullpen: right-hander Elvin Ramirez and right-hander Dane De La Rosa.

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One name stands out as Angels announce Freeway Series roster.

Mark Lowe

Mark Lowe had a 3.43 ERA in 36 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers last season. (Associated Press)

The Angels are bringing 20 position players and 15 pitchers to the Freeway Series. One name on the list stands out.

Mark Lowe signed a minor-league contract this morning after being cut by the Dodgers on Sunday. Lowe, a XX(B) free agent, finished last season on the Texas Rangers’ roster and had until Tuesday before the Dodgers had to decide to keep or cut him. Coincidentally, the Angels’ final four exhibition games are against either the Rangers or Dodgers.

Lowe, 29, has pitched in parts of seven major-league seasons for the Rangers and Mariners. The right-hander posted a 4.15 ERA in nine Cactus League appearances with the Dodgers (four earned runs in 8 ⅔ innings) while walking three and striking out six. With David Carpenter struggling (5.91 ERA in 12 appearances), Lowe stands a decent chance of making the team. The Angels have four open spots on the 40-man roster.

The other name on the list that seems out of place is Austin Wood, but he’ll probably only get on the mound in case of an emergency. The 22-year-old right-hander finished last season at Low-A Cedar Rapids.

Here’s the full list:

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