Angels put closer Fuentes on DL with strained back

Los Angeles Angels closer Brian Fuentes was placed on the 15-day

disabled list Wednesday with a strained back, the latest hiccup in

the team’s slow start.

The move was made retroactive to April 6. Fuentes, a four-time

All-Star who hasn’t pitched since opening day, said he tweaked his

back while lifting weights last week. The stiffness left him unable

to throw until he played catch Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It was just kind of a freak thing,” Fuentes said, adding that

he was examined recently by a chiropractor. “It feels

significantly better now.”

Still, the Angels can’t afford to remain a man short in the

bullpen so they put the left-hander on the DL and purchased the

contract of right-hander Francisco Rodriguez from Triple-A Salt

Lake.

Los Angeles was 2-6 going into Wednesday’s game against the New

York Yankees. Manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels would turn to

Fernando Rodney in closing situations.

“I think we have back-end guys that are ready for it,”

Scioscia said. “It shouldn’t slow the continuity that needs to

develop in the bullpen.”

Rodney saved 37 games for the Detroit Tigers last season before

signing an $11 million, two-year contract with Los Angeles, which

has won three straight AL West titles.

“It’s a nice insurance policy to have,” Fuentes said.

The Angels also activated outfielder Reggie Willits from the

disabled list. Willits had been rehabbing his strained right

hamstring in the minors.

Los Angeles will need to make another roster move to create room

for left-hander Scott Kazmir, scheduled to start Thursday night

against the Yankees in his season debut. Kazmir, acquired from

Tampa Bay in a trade last August, also has been sidelined with a

strained right hamstring.

On Tuesday, the Angels optioned right-hander Bobby Cassevah to

Salt Lake and transferred outfielder Chris Pettit to the 60-day

DL.