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.
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:
Vernon Wells couldn’t be moved easily for a fifth outfielder (Associated Press photo)
With six days left before Opening Day, the Angels have 36 players on their 40-man roster. Brad Mills, Bobby Cassevah, Steve Geltz and now Vernon Wells have all left camp one way or another.
That means four players have a way of working their way onto the Angels’ roster, including some who will start the season in the majors. That was by design, general manager Jerry Dipoto said Tuesday.
Someone suggested this morning that the two players the Angels acquired for Vernon Wells on Tuesday, Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed, would be good title characters in a Buddy Comedy. Look out Harold and Kumar…here come Exicardo and Kramer!
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.
Angels starting pitcher Tommy Hanson throw to the Cleveland Indians during the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press)
Tommy Hanson is healthy and is scheduled to throw six innings and 80-90 pitches today.
It just won’t come in the Angels’ Cactus League game against the Chicago White Sox. He’ll pitch in a minor-league game instead, as manager Mike Scioscia wanted to ensure that Hanson, the Angels’ projected fifth starter, gets fully stretched out in his second-to-last start of the spring.
“We need to get him into a controlled environment,” Scioscia said. “It’s an important outing to get him into a little more — not only length as far as pitches — but innings. It’s difficult if you’re up to 90 pitches.”
Angels catcher Hank Conger made three throws to infielders in Thursday night’s exhibition game against the Texas Rangers. Two came on stolen base attempts at second; both runners were safe. The other came when Conger tried to pick off the runner at first base, starting a rundown that resulted in Leonys Martin being caught stealing, 2-3-4 in your scorebook.
It was only three throws and only an exhibition game in March.
And yet …
“It’s huge,” Conger said.
Manager Mike Scioscia said Friday that Erick Aybar will “probably get the first crack” at occupying the number two spot in the lineup when the Angels open the season April 1 in Cincinnati.
“I think that’s what our template is and hopefully we’ll get a little chemistry in the last week” of spring training, Scioscia said.
It seemed that manager Mike Scioscia was adding another boo-boo to the Angels’ list of injury concerns Tuesday when he revealed that slugger Albert Pujols was dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
In fact, Pujols has been dealing with the condition on and off for seven years.
“It comes and goes, feels good, then comes and goes,” he said.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Pujols pledged to be smart about the condition and is trying orthotics this year for the first time, even though he’s been resistant in the past. Orthotics are custom-fitted arch support pieces that distribute pressure evenly around the foot.
“I think the whole reason it flared up this spring is because of my knee,” said Pujols, who underwent knee surgery last October.
Pujols will be the Angels’ designated hitter today against the Cleveland Indians after playing first base for the first time Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Right now I’m just focused on keeping my knee strong,” he said.
For Chris Snyder, hanging on to a career in baseball means driving 100 miles per hour up Interstate 95 from the Washington Nationals’ spring training complex in Viera, Florida to Orlando International Airport, telling your wife and three kids to meet you back in Phoenix tomorrow, cramming to learn a new pitching staff in two weeks, and remembering to breathe in between.
The crazy thing is, Snyder knew it might happen.
“My family had just gotten down (to Florida) three, four days ago,” he said. “I told my wife, ‘don’t unpack too much because we might be going somewhere else, either down the road in Florida or in Phoenix.’ So we got word that the Nationals, the two guys they had — (Kurt) Suzuki and (Wilson) Ramos — they’re both good and they were going with them. They left it up to us to pursue other opportunities out here.”