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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
What to do with Joel Pineiro's spot?

By Mark Saxon

The Angels are on the verge of trying to fix the one-fifth of their pitching rotation that is broken.
Joel Pineiro
In Joel Pineiro's last four starts he has posted a 14.85 ERA and has struck out a grand total of two batters.

While starting pitching has kept the Angels in the thick of the AL West race, No. 4 starter Joel Pineiro has stumbled into the deepest rut since he reinvented himself as a sinkerball pitcher three seasons ago. After watching Pineiro struggle yet again in an 11-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins Wednesday night, manager Mike Scioscia said virtually every solution is on the table.

Pineiro could head to the disabled list (though he insists he's healthy). He could be shuffled off to the bullpen until he figures out why his sinker isn't sinking.

But it sounds like his days in the rotation are numbered... and that number might be zero.

"The ball absolutely is not coming out of his hand the way we know it can, so we're going to look into some things tomorrow" Scioscia said.

Among the options Scioscia confirmed are on the table for the Angels' rotation: reliever Hisanori Takahashi, who was an ace starting pitcher in Japan a few years ago and filled that role at times for the New York Mets; top pitching prospect Garrett Richards, who is 12-1 with a 3.04 ERA at Double-A Arkansas; Triple-A pitcher Trevor Bell, who has been up and down for the Angels the past two seasons; and Pineiro.

Meanwhile, Pineiro is at a loss for why his ERA is 14.85 his past four starts and he has allowed five home runs. He called his recent results, "embarrassing."

"I’ve tried everything I can," Pineiro said. "Honestly, the next thing I can do is to sacrifice a live chicken. There’s no excuse. I wish I knew what was going on.”

Asked if he would prefer to work through his issues as a member of the Angels' rotation, Pineiro's pride seemed to puff up. He seemed to hint that the Angels might be looking to trade him, which isn't entirely absurd since he'll be a free agent following this season and he makes the kind of money ($8 million) that might allow him to clear waivers.

“I know I’ll be pitching somewhere, I know that for sure," Pineiro said. "I don’t know their plans, what they have in mind, but I'll be pitching somewhere because I know I’m healthy."