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Speier keeps things close

August 16, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna

CLEVELAND -- Manager Mike Scioscia had no choice but to pull struggling reliever Jose Arredondo with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning of a one-run game Friday night, but replacing him with Justin Speier seemed like a huge gamble.

Speier, the erstwhile setup man whose 1-5 record, 5.33 earned-run average and 11 home runs yielded in 49 innings reduced him to more of a mop-up role, gave up a game-winning three-run home run to Seattle's Wladimir Balentien on Wednesday night.

But Speier may have resurrected his season by striking out dangerous Indians leadoff hitter Grady Sizemore looking and getting Franklin Gutierrez to ground out, ending the inning. The veteran right-hander added a scoreless seventh to keep the Angels close.

"I have to watch the tape, but it looked like his command was terrific, and there weren't many mistakes," Scioscia said. "We fully expect Justin to get back into that mix where we projected him, but he's working his way back a little slowly."

Fay hey kids

The Angels may have more than the American League East-leading Rays to contend with when they begin a series at Tampa Bay on Monday. Tropical Storm Fay was forming over the Dominican Republic on Friday, and forecasters project it to reach the Tampa Bay area -- and possibly develop into a hurricane -- by Tuesday.

Short hops

To replace Maicer Izturis, who suffered a season-ending thumb injury, the Angels recalled switch-hitting first baseman Kendry Morales from triple-A. ... The Angels' Sept. 13 game against Seattle in Anaheim, scheduled for 12:55 p.m., has been moved to 6 p.m.

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