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Scioscia reveals his 'vote'

September 28, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

Mike Scioscia knows voters generally favor starters over relievers when it comes to selecting the winner of the Cy Young Award. But there have been exceptions.

So when the Angels manager was asked if record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez merits consideration, he answered with a question of his own.

"Do I need to lose weight?" the buoyant Scioscia asked. "That's a slam dunk right there. He should get an incredible amount of consideration."

Rodriguez has two wins and a record 62 saves this season, meaning he has played a big part in nearly two-thirds of the Angels' 99 victories. And he's tied for the league lead in appearances with 76.

In fact, Scioscia said upon reflection, why stop with the Cy Young? Why not consider Rodriguez for the American League's MVP award, too, something only three relievers have ever won?

"A reliever in Francisco's role has more to do with a team's standing than one starting pitcher does. This guy's pitched in [76] games for us where a starting pitcher will pitch in 30," Scioscia said. "And he's influenced the outcome. That's a major impact to a team.

"So in that light, absolutely he would get consideration for MVP. If you're having an incredible year, I think you've crossed those parameters of just being up for a special award for a relief pitcher."

Resting comfortably

Expect the Angels to empty their bullpen today, giving Scot Shields, Darren Oliver and Jose Arredondo one last tuneup before the playoffs. For some, it could be the only work they get all week since the Angels play only twice -- Wednesday and Friday -- before next Sunday.

But pitching coach Mike Butcher doesn't think the additional rest will be a problem, despite the fact the Angels have five relievers used to pitching at least once every three games.

"I'm not concerned," he said. "We'll have workouts in between. Guys will play catch, they'll be able to throw their bullpens. At this point in the season, when they can get days off, they'll take their days off. It's if they activate their arm, playing a little bit of catch. As long as they activate their arm they're going to be fine."

Pitching in

Exactly who will fill out that bullpen will be announced today, although Scioscia began revealing his plans to his players Saturday afternoon, meeting individually with Jon Garland and Dustin Moseley in his office.

The Angels are likely to carry 10 pitchers on their first-round playoff roster, leaving room for a three-man rotation of John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders. Arredondo, Shields, Rodriguez and Oliver will also make the team, leaving about half a dozen pitchers to battle for the final three spots.

One of those places could go to right-hander Jered Weaver, the opening-day starter, who made a three-inning, 55-pitch start in an Arizona Instructional League game in Tempe on Saturday. Justin Speier may also have helped his cause Saturday, retiring four of the five Rangers he faced in Anaheim to give him four consecutive scoreless outings.

"We're talking about a couple of things with some guys," said Scioscia, who said others are likely to follow Weaver to Arizona for some maintenance work.

Sharing the wealth

Angels players, led by union representative Gary Matthews Jr., held a closed-door meeting before batting practice Saturday to vote on playoff shares.

Last year, when the Angels were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, they handed out 44 full shares -- worth $31,593.75 each -- 5 1/4 partial shares and eight cash awards to players and other team personnel. The World Series champion Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, distributed 47 full shares worth more than $308,000 each.

Short hops

Hank Blalock's third-inning run-scoring double was the 374th double of the season for the Rangers, breaking the major league record set by the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals and equaled by the Red Sox twice in the last 11 years.


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