Angels send Tommy Hanson to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Tommy Hanson

Tommy Hanson went 4-3 in 13 starts for the Angels this season. He was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday.

The Angels optioned Tommy Hanson to Triple-A Salt Lake after losing 2-1 to the New York Yankees on Monday, making room for Jason Vargas to be activated from the disabled list so he can start tomorrow.

Hanson is 4-3 with a 5.59 earned-run average in 13 starts for the Angels. He missed time early in the season while on the bereavement list and nearly a month — from June 20 to July 23 — on the disabled list with a forearm injury.
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Angels take a page out of the spring training playbook to shore up defense.

It looked like spring training in August.

The Angels gathered on the Angel Stadium infield for a short team meeting around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. When that was done, players broke off to their separate positions and proceeded to perform a Cactus League staple: Pitchers’ fielding practice (PFP) drills. For the next half-hour, each pitcher peeled off from the pack standing along the third-base line, jogged to the mound, and practiced pickoff throws to each base, fielded bunts, and covered first base on ground balls to the right side.

Kevin Jepsen said it was the first time he’d done PFP drills in August in five full seasons with the Angels.
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Angels back to a three-man bench, for now.

Tommy Hanson

Tommy Hanson starts for the Angels tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Angels are carrying 13 pitchers and only three position players on their bench. The unusual configuration began 10 days ago, when pitcher Tommy Hanson was activated from the disabled list and infielder Brendan Harris was designated for assignment.

The Angels carried one extra pitcher for parts of the first half too, particularly when the bullpen was being overused by manager Mike Scioscia‘s standards. It was out of necessity — the Angels’ starting pitchers rarely lasted beyond six innings — and that’s the case again.
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Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Jerome Williams will start this weekend.

The Angels announced their pitching rotation for this weekend’s series against the Oakland A’s at Angel Stadium:

Friday: RHP A.J. Griffin (8-6, 3.68) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (3-5, 3.63)
Saturday: RHP Dan Straily (6-2, 4.28) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (9-6, 3.37)
Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (12-3, 2.70) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (5-5, 4.60)

Also, Tommy Hanson is starting tomorrow night for the Single-A Inland Empire 66ers on a rehabilitation assignment. The 66ers are hosting the Lancaster JetHawks at San Manuel Stadium.

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The Angels will temporarily employ a six-man rotation. Then what?

Jered Weaver C.J. Wilson

Jered Weaver (left) and C.J. Wilson (center) are assured of spots when the Angels go back to a five-man rotation (Getty Images).

Save the date: June 7.

That’s when the Angels will begin a six-game road trip through Boston and Baltimore. It’s also the next time the Angels will employ a five-man rotation.
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Tommy Hanson’s head is clear, arm is ready for possible Friday start.

Tommy Hanson

Angels right-hander Tommy Hanson admitted Tuesday he wasn’t right mentally in his last start. (Associated Press)

Major League Baseball’s bereavement leave is limited to a maximum of seven days, but sometimes seven days isn’t enough.

That was the case for Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson, who made two starts after the death of his stepbrother in April. The first was in Oakland and Hanson pitched well, allowing one run in six innings. The second was at home against Baltimore on May 4 and it didn’t go so well. Hanson allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings, and the Angels went on to lose 5-4.

“Chris (Iannetta) came out and asked if I felt all right,” Hanson said. “Everyone said I looked like a zombie. I felt like one too. They wanted me to step away, get right and not rush anything.”

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Daily Distractions: How bad is the Angels’ pitching?

Jerome Williams

Spot starter Jerome Williams allowed two home runs in the Angels’ 8-4 loss Sunday. (Associated Press photo)

“Terrible” and “absolutely awful” are two ways to describe the Angels’ pitching staff. And those were suggested by their manager yesterday.

I could have cited a few more stats about the Angels’ staff in my game story from yesterday’s 8-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles and where they rank among the 30 teams, namely:

• Opponents’ on-base percentage .344 (29th)
• Opponents’ slugging percentage: .427 (25th)
• Opponents’ OPS: .770 (28th)
• Blown saves: 5 (t-23rd)
• Save percentage: 44.4 (t-29th)
• HR allowed: 39 (t-25th)
• Wild pitches: 17 (27th)
• WHIP: 1.48 (29th)
• Strikeouts per nine innings: 6.80 (24th)
• Strikeout-to-walk ratio: 1.70 (28th)

The Angels are among the worst in the league in nearly every pitching category. It’s almost hard to be this bad. And this is *after* two stellar complete-game efforts by Jason Vargas last week.

That’s why even Mike Scioscia isn’t pulling punches. It’s hard to be optimistic.

Nowhere to go but up, right?

Onto the bullet points:
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Garrett Richards is going back to the Angels’ bullpen, Jerome Williams will start Sunday.

When is a one-way ticket to the bullpen a good thing for a starting pitcher?

When it’s the Angels, of course, where sorting out roles on the pitching staff has been a season-long task — an unenviable one, too, for manager Mike Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher.

Their latest solution? Move Garrett Richards, who went 1-2 with a 5.44 earned-run average in four starts this season, back to the bullpen, where he’s allowed just one run in four appearances this season. Richards was scheduled to start Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles but will be replaced by Jerome Williams. He seemed to take the news well.

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Michael Roth, not Jerome Williams, will start for the Angels on Wednesday.

Michael Roth

Angels left-hander Michael Roth will become the first pitcher drafted in 2012 to start a major-league game on Wednesday. (Getty Images).

Manager Mike Scioscia threw a bit of a curveball Tuesday night, naming Michael Roth his starter for the rubber match of the Angels’ series against Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
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Tommy Hanson placed on bereavement list; Jerome Williams could start for Angels Wednesday.

Tommy HansonTommy Hanson was placed on bereavement leave on Monday, leaving the Angels without their scheduled starter for Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers — and maybe beyond. The reason for Hanson’s absence was not immediately disclosed.

The right-hander can miss between three and seven games under MLB rules. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he is leaning toward using Jerome Williams in Hanson’s place on Wednesday.

Williams, who threw three innings to close out the Angels’ 13-inning win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, said his availability will be determined “the next couple days, how I feel. If (asked to start), I’ll be ready.”

Monday, hours before the Angels were set to play the Rangers, Williams said his arm felt fine. He’s 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in five appearances, all out of the bullpen. He was 6-8 with a 4.83 ERA in 15 starts for the Angels last season.

Hanson, who starred at Redlands East Valley High School and Riverside Community College, is 2-1 with a 4.24 earned-run average in three starts with the Angels. He would be eligible to return to the team as early as Monday, April 29, when the Angels visit the Oakland A’s. Coincidentally, that game is Hanson’s next scheduled turn in the rotation.

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