Angels release Ryan Madson.

Ryan MadsonThe Angels placed pitcher Ryan Madson on unconditional release waivers Tuesday.

Madson, who had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in April 2012, spent the entire season on the disabled list after signing an incentive-laden one-year contract. The Angels owe him the remainder of his $3.5 million base salary.

The 32-year-old pitcher had been rehabbing in Arizona. He pitched one inning of one rehab game for the Single-A Inland Empire 66ers on May 13, but the subsequent pain in his elbow stalled his progress.

“We signed Ryan with the belief that he would return to the mound and positively impact our team,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement released by the team. “It became increasingly more apparent to us that he would not pitch for the Angels this season. Our medical team has spent much time, effort and resources in the effort to facilitate a healthy return. It’s been a long and difficult process for all involved.

“I spoke to Ryan earlier today and informed him of our decision. This was an upside gamble that I deemed worth the risk and unfortunately it did not transpire for either Ryan or the club.”

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Ryan Madson tries something different.

Ryan MadsonRyan Madson took a scheduled day off his throwing program Thursday. The right-hander will resume tomorrow from flat ground, but not from 120 feet as in the past.

Madson said he’ll throw from 90 feet, but don’t call it a setback. It’s more of a temporary adjustment.

“It’ll prevent any excess inflammation in that spot,” he said. “That’s a big difference from 90 to 120, for some reason. It (Madson’s right elbow) doesn’t like that.”

The 120-foot distance is something of a standard distance for pitchers coming back from injuries, the final hurdle to clear. Madson acknowledged that throwing from 120 feet would allow him to build more strength and stretch his arm out more than throwing from 90 feet.

But if the goal is to get him back pitching off a mound (60 feet, 6 inches away from home plate), the extra 30 feet are negligible and not worth the pain. Madson said he hasn’t been able to throw beyond 80 percent strength from 120 feet without incurring pain in his surgically repaired right elbow, and he has a better chance of making progress if he sticks to 90 feet.

“When you go to 120 feet, you have to throw it 90 miles per hour to get it downhill,” he said.

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Ryan Madson has a ‘good day’ throwing, but still not pain-free.

Ryan MadsonAngels pitcher Ryan Madson threw long toss from 120 feet Monday, which the rehabbing right-hander declared a “good day.”

Still, Madson said he experienced pain in his surgically repaired right elbow when he pushed himself to about 80 percent effort.

“I don’t know what it is,” he said, “whether it’s the PRP injection or the strain.”
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Angels’ Ryan Madson resumes light throwing.

Ryan MadsonAngels pitcher Ryan Madson threw lightly for the second straight day Friday, from 60 feet on flat ground for about six minutes. The right-hander reported no pain and plenty of progress compared to Thursday.

“Yesterday it didn’t feel good at all,” he said. “Today it felt a lot better.”

Madson had not thrown at all between May 13, the date of his last rehabilitation outing for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, and Thursday. One thing has changed in the meantime.

“I’m not going to have any input,” he said. The Angels’ training staff will dictate when Madson takes the next step in his rehab.

Madson said he hasn’t had an MRI exam on his surgically repaired right elbow since spring training, but he can tell when there’s inflammation just by stretching out his arm and twisting it below the elbow.

“I wanted this to start from zero inflammation,” he said of his latest throwing session. “I think we’re there.”

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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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On verge of returning, Madson abruptly shipped to Triple-A for two weeks?

The Angels deviated from their plan to activate Ryan Madson this weekend, opting instead to send the reliever to Triple-A Salt Lake Thursday for what Madson said could be a couple of weeks.

The move is surprising considering Madson punctuated a productive 10-day stretch with his first rehabilitation appearance on Monday since offseason Tommy John surgery, pitching a perfect inning for Single-A Inland Empire.

“I don’t know if it’s going to take a couple weeks,” Scioscia said. “It might. It might not. But I think that we want to make sure that he is ready to go and this rehab sticks when it goes. He’ll let us know how he feels, but he’s been talking about how close he is.”

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Angels pitcher Ryan Madson takes a step forward.

Ryan MadsonRyan Madson is throwing again.

The Angels pitcher, who’s seen his recovery from Tommy John surgery progress in fits and starts, resumed his long-toss program Thursday. It was the first time he’s thrown since April 23 — eight days ago — when he experienced a recurrence of pain in his surgically repaired right elbow.

“I felt good,” Madson said immediately after coming off the field. “A few more days of long toss, then I’ll try to get back on a mound.”

Madson threw in excess of 100 feet Thursday. How quickly Madson progresses will depend on how he feels in the coming days, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to avoid another setback. But progress is progress, and the injury-depleted Angels will take any good news they can get right now.

It’s been exactly one year and three weeks since Madson had Tommy John surgery on his elbow.

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Daily Distractions: Fishing for answers in Salt Lake.

Mark Trumbo

Mark Trumbo’s power is unquestioned. Who can save the Angels’ sinking ship remains to be seen. (Keith Birmingham/Staff Photographer)

Many comparisons have been made between the 2013 Angels and the 2012 Angels, with both teams beginning the season with high expectations and underachieving badly in the first month. Here’s another point to consider: The Angels’ answer a year ago didn’t come from their major-league ranks.

Rather, it came from Triple-A Salt Lake in the form of Mike Trout. Trout was batting .403/.467/1.091 when he bid the Pacific Coast League adieu, likely for a long time. The biggest problem facing the Angels now is health, with Ryan Madson, Kevin Jepsen, Mark Lowe, Sean Burnett and Jered Weaver forming a potent disabled list. If the five are healthy, 2013 is a different story already.

Since they’re not, it’s tempting – but disappointing – to peek at who’s waiting in the wings at Triple-A. There is no Mike Trout.

If you’re looking for pitching help, the Bees’ top five starters are 6-12 with a 6.43 earned-run average. That doesn’t include recent signee Kip Wells, who allowed two runs in seven innings in his debut Sunday. And it’s not as if the Angels aren’t already auditioning arms — they’ve used 18 pitchers already this season with a 19th, Ryan Brasier, on the 25-man roster waiting to make his debut. No major-league team has used more than 19 pitchers this season.

As position players go, Luis Jimenez has been a nice lift in the lineup and on the field since being recalled. But a number-nine hitter can only do so much; his three singles in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position (.273, two RBIs) are sadly above average for this team (.225).

Bill Hall and Matt Young, two veterans who vied for major-league jobs in spring training, are hitting .206 and .241, respectively. Brad Hawpe is batting .237 with one home run to show for his first 38 at-bats.

So it’s probably not a question of who is ready to step up from Triple-A. It’s who will start pitching, who will start hitting, and who is available on the trade market?

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Kevin Jepsen, Ryan Madson and Erick Aybar give Angels a ‘pretty good team’ at extended spring training.

Kevin Jepsen, Erick Aybar and Ryan Madson are heading to Tempe, Arizona today to continue their rehab at extended spring training.

“Got a pretty good team there, sure,” manager Mike Scioscia said.

In each case, that’s a good sign for the Angels, but the timetable is different for each player’s recovery.
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