Series preview: Los Angeles Angels

BY foxsports • April 11, 2011

  
Starting pitching was supposed to be the Angels' greatest strength this season. Three days out of five -- when Jered Weaver, Dan Haren or Ervin Santana starts -- that remains true. But the Angels have had to do some juggling at the back end of their rotation.   
  
Starters Joel Pineiro and Scott Kazmir are on the disabled list with Pineiro's shoulder woes the greater concern. The back stiffness that sent Kazmir to the DL might have been a convenient excuse to get the troubled left-hander out of the rotation.
 
But those moves have exposed the Angels' lack of depth in starting pitching (exacerbated last season when they traded several young pitchers in deals for infielder Alberto Callaspo and Haren).
  
Right-hander Matt Palmer was promoted to take Kazmir's turn Saturday and now the Angels are turning to righty Tyler Chatwood as a fill-in starter Monday against the Indians.
  
Chatwood, 21, is a well-regarded prospect but he has pitched just 6 2/3 innings above the Class AA level -- 5 2/3 innings in one start at Class AAA last year and one inning Saturday for Salt Lake. He was pulled after 18 pitches in that start in anticipation of the Angels' needs this week.
  
"We've called up guys from AA before," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Sunday's 3-1 win over the Blue Jays, referring specifically to Ervin Santana in May 2005.
  
"I don't think the age next to his name or where he's pitched means as much as what his makeup is. He really came on last year and pitched well for us this spring. We think he's ready for the challenge and will give us a chance to win every time out there as long as he's in the rotation."
  
Chatwood rose from A ball to that one start in Class AAA last season, primarily because of the vacancies caused by the trades. He had a 7.36 ERA with 15 hits allowed in 11 spring innings this year as a non-roster invitee to his first big-league camp.

NOTES, QUOTES
  
--RHP Jered Weaver struck out 15 batters in 7 2/3 innings Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the highest strikeout total by an Angels pitcher since LHP Chuck Finley struck out 15 Yankees on May 23, 1995. Weaver (who led the majors with 233 strikeouts last season) is 3-0 with an 0.87 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings this season.
  
--SS Erick Aybar (left oblique) was placed on the disabled list Sunday retroactive to April 3. Aybar had not played in a week due to the mild strain suffered in the season-opening series in Kansas City. He will be eligible to come off the DL on April 18 when the Angels start a series in Texas. RHP Francisco Rodriguez was promoted from Class AAA Salt Lake (Salt Lake City) to fill his roster spot.
  
--LHP Scott Downs (broken toe) was activated from the DL following Sunday's game. Downs made two rehab appearances with high-A Inland Empire, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk in his two innings.
  
--RHPs Kevin Jepsen and Michael Kohn were optioned to Class AAA to make room on the roster for LHP Scott Downs (activated from DL) and Tyler Chatwood (promoted from Class AAA to start Monday). Both Jepsen and Kohn had struggled with command issues as part of the Angels' bullpen troubles early in the season. "There's hopefully going to be quick fixes with both of those guys," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But they definitely need to take a half-step back and work on some things."
  
--2B Howie Kendrick had his eight-game hitting streak to start the season snapped Sunday. Kendrick still leads the Angels with a .389 batting average (14-for-36) and four home runs while walking a surprising six times in the first nine games. Kendrick has never walked more than 28 times in a season in the majors or minor leagues.
  
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Pitchers used by the Angels in Saturday's 14-inning victory over the Blue Jays, tying a franchise record for an extra-inning game. That included all seven relievers on their active roster plus starter Dan Haren pressed into service to pitch the 14th.
  
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You think?" -- Angels RHP Kevin Jepsen when asked if his demotion to Class AAA on Sunday surprised him.  

ROSTER REPORT
  
MEDICAL WATCH:

  
--SS Erick Aybar (sore left side) was placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 3.
  
--LHP Scott Kazmir (lower back stiffness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 4.
  
--RHP Joel Pineiro (tight right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He had a setback in early April, and he had yet to be cleared to return to a mound as of April 8.
  
--LHP Scott Downs (broken left big toe) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He made a rehab appearance for Class A Inland Empire on April 7. He was scheduled to pitch for Inland Empire again April 9, and he was activated April 10.
  
--1B Kendrys Morales (fractured left ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He might begin a rehab assignment in early April in hopes of returning to the Angels by early May.
  
--OF Reggie Willits (strained left calf) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Lake Elsinore on April 7, and he might be able to return to the Angels in mid-April.
  
--RHP Bobby Cassevah (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22.
  
--3B Freddy Sandoval (left side muscle strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He was injured March 3, and he might be sidelined until May.
  
ROTATION:

• RHP Jered Weaver
• RHP Dan Haren
• RHP Ervin Santana
• RHP Matt Palmer
• RHP Tyler Chatwood

BULLPEN:

• RHP Jordan Walden (closer)
• LHP Scott Downs
• RHP Fernando Rodney
• LHP Hisanori Takahashi
• RHP Francisco Rodriguez
• RHP Rich Thompson
• RHP Jason Bulger

CATCHERS:

• Bobby Wilson
• Jeff Mathis
• Hank Conger

INFIELDERS:

• 1B Mark Trumbo
• 2B Howie Kendrick
• SS Maicer Izturis
• 3B Alberto Callaspo
• INF Brandon Wood

OUTFIELDERS:

• LF Vernon Wells
• CF Peter Bourjos
• RF Torii Hunter
• DH Bobby Abreu
• OF Chris Pettit


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