The Angels' resilient relief plan

Updated: May 8, 2012, 10:04 AM ET
By Buster Olney

There have been so many early speed bumps for the Los Angeles Angels, general manager Jerry Dipoto said over the phone Monday, that it would be hard to pinpoint any one of them as the reason for the club's early struggles. But the Angels knew that the bullpen would be a work in progress early on, as relievers performed -- or didn't -- and roles were defined.

But just as the Angels thought their bullpen was starting to settle in, they lost two relievers within the span of three pitches Sunday. First, Scott Downs twisted his knee, and then LaTroy Hawkins got hurt barehanding the game-ending line drive, which he turned into a double play.

Hawkins suffered a fractured pinky and will be out 4-6 weeks. But Dipoto and the Angels got what they felt was good news on Downs, who left the ballpark on crutches on Sunday but felt better on Monday. He was diagnosed with a bone contusion and doesn't need to go on the disabled list, and he will be monitored day to day. "This was about as good as we could have hoped for," said Dipoto.