Los Angeles Angels: bullpen

Michael Kohn needs Tommy John surgery

April, 11, 2012
4/11/12
6:50
PM PT
Reliever Michael Kohn is scheduled to undergo ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow Thursday and will miss the 2012 season, the Angels announced.

Kohn's star was on the rise at this time last year, but he struggled early and spent the majority of last season at Triple-A Salt Lake. He made five appearances this spring, but was placed on the 15-day disabled list when the Angels opened the season.

Tommy John surgery, named after the former Dodgers' left-hander, typically requires a year-and-a-half of recovery time.

Kohn, 25, is 2-1 with a 4.01 ERA in 38 major-league games. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery in Florida.

Does Jordan Walden deserve another shot?

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
11:27
AM PT
Timing is so crucial in sports. Ask any kicker.

As the Angels wrap up their winter business heading into spring training next month, they'll be contemplating whether to spend on another seasoned bullpen arm to go with LaTroy Hawkins and the remnants of the Angels' 2011 bullpen. One reason they're still looking into it is how Jordan Walden's rookie season ended.

Walden was on the fringes of Rookie of the Year talk and cruising toward an impressive debut season when things fell apart. In Walden's final three appearances, he allowed five of the 20 earned runs for his season, his ERA shooting from an impressive 2.34 to a marginal (for a closer) 2.98.

The Angels were in the thick of the wild-card race (thanks, mostly, to Boston's collapse) before Walden fielded an Adam Rosales grounder and sailed it into center field on Sept. 25, part of a brutal meltdown against Oakland that effectively stubbed out the Angels' season.

Walden, one of the hardest throwers in baseball, said he has managed to put that rough finish behind him.

"I took it as a good season," he said Thursday. "I've tried to forget all the bad times and just kind of build on it, looking forward to this new year."

Walden said he hasn't spoken with anyone in the Angels about his role for 2012, but unless the team signs an expensive closer like Ryan Madson or Francisco Cordero in the coming days, it looks like the job will be his to lose. Hawkins is 39 and has spent most of his career as a setup man. Lefty Scott Downs will be 36 by opening day and has just 17 saves in 10 major-league seasons.

Walden made the AL All-Star team and finished seventh in ROY balloting last season.

"Oh yeah, that's what I want to do, but I'm just happy to be part of the team and help us win," Walden said.

Walden, 24, said he changed his off-season routine and hired a personal trainer to help him deal with the rigors of a major-league season. He has already begun his long-tossing regimen. Walden appeared in 62 games last year, two seasons after he transitioned from starting to relieving.

"You learn a lot about how long a season is, what's expected of you and how your body's got to be in shape," he said.

Fernando Rodney not happy in role

September, 13, 2011
9/13/11
6:48
PM PT
OAKLAND -- What happened to Fernando Rodney, the Angels reliever who has -- step by step -- sunk as far as a reliever can go while still retaining a uniform?

He began this season as the Angels closer, was demoted after four outings to the setup man and, now, struggles to get outs in blowouts. He has walked 28 batters in 32 innings, the highest pace of his career.

According to Rodney, losing the faith of manager Mike Scioscia and getting sporadic work have affected his performance. He said he never understood why he was replaced by Jordan Walden as the closer so early in the season.

"Four games ... In 162 games, that's not a lot," Rodney said. "Look around baseball. A lot of teams have problems with their closers. St. Louis, Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox. They get more chances. I've walked too many guys, but I know I can do my job. I feel good."

Rodney is 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. Opponents have batted just .224 against him, but the high walk totals and issues in high-leverage situations cost him Scioscia's trust.

"His fastball command has been poor, not just with location but even getting it over the plate," Scioscia said. "He's throwing it very hard. At times, he's maybe tried to overthrow it a little bit. Fernando's stuff is still there. It's just a matter of getting it over the plate early enough to use all his pitches.

"We certainly haven't given up on him, but right now, you have to hold leads and we've been going with Bobby [Cassevah], Scott [Downs] and Jordan, because their production is much better."

Rodney, a free agent after this season, said he would like to go somewhere he can get more regular work. He has pitched just twice this month, including Monday night when he had struggle mopping up an inning with the Angels trailing 6-2.

"I'm a relief pitcher. My whole career, I'm pitching every day or every two or three days," Rodney said. "I can't get comfortable."

Here are lineups for Tuesday night's game:

Angels

1. Maicer Izturis 2B

2. Howie Kendrick 1B

3. Bobby Abreu DH

4. Torii Hunter RF

5. Alberto Callaspo 3B

6. Vernon Wells LF

7. Erick Aybar SS

8. Peter Bourjos CF

9. Hank Conger C

A's

1. Jemile Weeks 2B

2. Cliff Pennington SS

3. Hideki Matsui LF

4. Josh Willingham DH

5. Scott Sizemore 3B

6. Ryan Sweeney CF

7. Kurt Suzuki C

8. Brandon Allen 1B

9. Michael Taylor RF

Angels bullpen and that ticking sound

August, 30, 2011
8/30/11
8:20
AM PT
A punchless offense has been the anchor on this Angels' season, but it might be the bullpen that eventually keeps this team home in October.

We got a little sneak preview of that Monday night when the Angels lost a game in Seattle, 5-3, because reliever Hisanori Takahashi gave up two eighth-inning runs on a towering Mike Carp home run. That seemed like a bad idea at the time.

The Angels' bullpen issues were evident back in the first series in Kansas City.

Middle relief is the most fluid position in baseball. Most teams have a carousel of relievers shuttling between Triple-A and the majors until they find the right combinations. In Mike Scioscia's clubhouse, that still hasn't happened and they're running out of time.

The Angels lead the league with 21 blown saves and have lost 17 games they either led or were tied after seven innings.

Even if things go well in the next four weeks and those final three games in Anaheim against the Rangers are winner-take-all, you know Scioscia will be sweating out a call to the bullpen every time he has to make one.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
11 3.62 114 144
OTHER LEADERS
BAM. Trout .302
HRM. Trout 24
RBIM. Trout 76
RM. Trout 74
OPSM. Trout .980
ERAG. Richards 2.62
SOG. Richards 139