Help is on the way for roughed up Angels bullpen

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Angels manager Mike Scioscia has a lot of confidence in his bullpen. If you saw the team’s opening series against Seattle, you may ask yourself, why?

Collectively the Angels bullpen has given up 12 earned runs in 10 innings of work to start the 2014 season but help is on the way.

Wednesday afternoon, relievers Sean Burnett and Dane De La Rosa each went through a simulated game at Angel Stadium before team’s finale with the Seattle Mariners — an 8-2 loss.   

Burnett threw 15 pitches while De La Rosa’s pitch count was in the ballpark of 30.

"They both looked great," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

De La Rosa has a target date of April 11 to return to the ballclub. He and Scioscia believe he’s much closer to returning to the big club than Burnett.

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As the Angels leave for a six-game road trip, De La Rosa will head to Texas to join double-A Arkansas on their road trips to Midland and Frisco.

"We’re going to start doing throwing, (a) day off, throw kind of thing just to get me really ready when we get back," De La Rosa said. "It’s setting me to get right into a game as soon as we get back."

He’ll rejoin the Angels when they return home for their series against the Mets on Apr. 11 when he expects to be activated.

Burnett, on the other hand, will head to Arizona where the plan is to throw a simulated game in two days. From that point, the club will determine if he’s ready for a rehab assignment.  

Wednesday’s simulated game was filled with extra excitement from Burnett.

After being signed before the start of the 2013 season, Burnett has made just 13 appearances in an Angels uniform.

He posted a 0.93 ERA while allowing just one earned run in 9 2/3 innings last season before an elbow injury caused him the season. Nearly a year removed from his last appearance in a Major League game he’s itching to get back.

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"The juices get going and if you put a hitter in the box anybody that’s competitive is going to ramp it up a little bit," Burnett said. "I just want to get out there and play. I’m a baseball player. I haven’t been able to play since May so that’s what I’ve been loving to do since I was a little kid. It’s tough to watch and it’s even tougher to be on the DL. You don’t feel like you’re part of the team when you can’t help the team. I’m itching to get back out there and anxious."

Despite the three-game skid to start the season, the team remains incredibly optimistic. De La Rosa, like his manager, is extremely confident things will get turned around.

"We’re good," the Angels reliever said. "(We’re) just getting everybody together, everybody healthy at the same time and getting the flow started, once we get started, we’re going to be shutdown in the bullpen."