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.”
Left-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.
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?
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.