Daily Distractions: Remembering Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Lewis YocumDr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels team physician who died Saturday, worked at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic for more than 30 years. Yocum didn’t invent Tommy John surgery – Frank Jobe did – but he made it faster.

“Some of the little refinements that we do, he helped develop them,” Jobe said. “For example, he’d drill the holes. At he time it took a while to get the holes just right took to get the lead sutures through those holes, he was able to find a way of doing that real slick, so that cut about 15 minutes off the operation time.”

And yet, when I asked Jobe to identify Yocum’s legacy, he went with something completely different. Click the link above to see what he said.

I talked to a lot of people about Dr. Yocum yesterday and the vast majority of what they said didn’t fit in my story for the newspaper. So here’s the rest, in bullet-point form for a Wednesday afternoon:
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Angels pitcher Sean Burnett returning to the disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Sean BurnettAngels pitcher Sean Burnett had surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow last October and is still dealing with the aftereffects.

An examination Tuesday revealed inflammation in the back of the elbow, and the Angels placed Burnett on the disabled list for the second time this season. Even though the source of pain has been different, both of Burnett’s DL stints have been related to the surgically repaired elbow, which has cost him 22 games already.

“It just all relates to that surgery I had,” he said. “My elbow’s got more movement to do. It’s inflaming itself, just reacting to that space. It’s used to those bone spurs being there.”

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Sean Burnett could join the Angels’ bullpen Tuesday.

"<strongIn spite of his 9.00 Single-A earned-run average, Sean Burnett said that his rehabilitation assignment Saturday went well.

Well enough that he might not need another.

“I’ll play catch today. If that goes well, I’ll talk to the front office and hopefully they’ll let me go Tuesday,” Burnett said.

The left-hander, who’s been out since April 26 with stiffness in his right forearm, gave up a home run and induced three ground balls in his lone inning of work for the Inland Empire 66ers. More importantly, he didn’t feel any pain in the forearm.
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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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Kevin Jepsen, Sean Burnett could return next week.

The Angels expect to get relievers Sean Burnett and Kevin Jepsen back next week after both completed bullpen sessions Thursday at Angel Stadium.

Burnett, who’s been out since April 26 with stiffness in his left (throwing) forearm, is expected to pitch on a rehabilitation assignment this weekend, then return to the Angels as early as Tuesday for a home game against the Seattle Mariners. The Angels do not play Monday.

Jepsen, out since April 12 with a strained right shoulder, is also expected to head out for a rehab assignment but could need more than one appearance.

“Kevin’s been out a little longer, so it depends on how he does and how he responds,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Sean Burnett’s been out three weeks (as of Friday). It’s not that excessive, so hopefully he’ll be able to get away with just a little tuneup.”
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Sean Burnett out with forearm tightness, Angels recall Nick Maronde from Arkansas.

Sean BurnettLeft-hander Sean Burnett wasn’t available to pitch Monday, and won’t be until Thursday at the earliest, after experiencing stiffness in his left forearm following a one-inning appearance Sunday.

“I’ve been dealing with it off and on the last two weeks,” Burnett said. “I’m just playing it safe.”

In part because of Burnett’s injury, in part because long reliever Jerome Williams is expected to start Wednesday, the Angels recalled left-hander Nick Maronde from Double-A Arkansas on Tuesday. Infielder Tommy Field was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room for Maronde on the 25-man roster.

That leaves the Angels with nine relievers and only three position players available off the bench for tonight’s game against the Texas Rangers.

Burnett had surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow last October. He said that the tightness in his forearm is part of the recovery process. He’s also made a team-leading 10 appearances in the Angels’ first 18 games, which puts him on pace to pitch in 90 games this season. He doesn’t expect to keep that pace up, but he isn’t complaining either.

“The workload’s been fine,” Burnett said. “It’s more frustrating than anything. When I get out there I feel good.”

Maronde appeared in six games with Arkansas, allowing five runs in 7 ⅓ innings (a 6.14 ERA). Field appeared in three games as a defensive replacement without getting a plate appearance.

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Postgame thoughts: A’s 9, Angels 5

Sean Burnett was not dealing with a blister, in his mind or on the middle finger of his left hand.

Mike Scioscia seemed to disagree when he left right-hander Kevin Jepsen in to face A’s lefties John Jaso and Brandon Moss in the seventh inning with the southpaw Burnett available out of the bullpen. “Jeppy was the guy to get out of that inning,” Scioscia said, before mentioning Burnett’s blister.

Burnett said that there was no blister. Ever.

“It was more my nail came out of the bed” three days ago in Texas, he said. “It was a one-day thing. It happens all the time with my breaking ball … I was 100 percent.”

Burnett pitched Tuesday. He seemed healthy. He faced four batters in a scoreless eighth inning. Scioscia simply chose to save Burnett for the start of the eighth inning rather than the two-on, two-out situation in the seventh, citing the blister. It proved to be the wrong call.

Whether you attribute the Angels’ 9-5 loss to the Oakland A’s on Tuesday to Scioscia leaving in Jepsen too long, or to Jepsen for allowing two homers in the seventh inning, may be a matter of degrees. Six of one, half a dozen of another, there are still issues in the Angels bullpen. Right?

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What will the Angels’ bullpen look like April 1?

David Carpenter

David Carpenter could be on the bubble for one of the Angels’ final bullpen jobs … or not. (Getty Images)

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said his pitching staff “will have a more situational look in the bullpen” when the regular season begins. It’s not hard to figure out what that means, as there are 15 pitchers currently in camp and 12 will start the season on the active roster.

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Mitch Stetter (finally) nearing spring debut with Angels.

You’d never guess it, but pitcher Mitch Stetter was among the first players to report to spring training with the Angels.

It wasn’t hard. Mitch StetterStetter lives about 10 minutes north of Tempe. He dropped by early in February, threw about 10 bullpen sessions and hurt his lower back in the 11th. After an initial diagnosis of a stress fracture in his vertebrae, Stetter had a CT scan that revealed a bulging disk.

He’s yet to appear in a spring training game while adhering to a prescription of rest and anti-inflammatory medications. But after throwing a bullpen today, “most likely I’ll take two days off then pitch Sunday,” Stetter said.

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Angels pitcher Sean Burnett criticizes his ‘sloppy’ Cactus League debut.

Sean BurnettSean Burnett could have dismissed his first outing of spring training as easily as his catcher, Chris Iannetta.

“It’s the first day out,” Iannetta said after Burnett allowed four hits and two runs in one-third of an inning Wednesday against the San Diego Padres. “You’re not worried about results.”

Burnett was.

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