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Angels' Sean O'Sullivan gets another win, another demotion

His victory Tuesday over Royals left him with a 3-0 record and a 3.72 earned-run average. But with Angels not needing a fifth starter again until Aug. 8, he is sent down for third time this season.

July 23, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

KANSAS CITY, MO. — Sean O'Sullivan is not a scout's dream. His fastball rarely tops 93 mph, and his secondary pitches are good but not blow-you-away good.

But in five starts for the Angels this season, the 21-year-old right-hander has made a lasting impression, even though he rarely lasts in the big leagues.

O'Sullivan, who is 3-0 with a 3.72 earned-run average, was sent to triple-A Salt Lake after allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings to beat the Royals on Tuesday night, his third demotion this season.

"His makeup is really one of the things that has let him come up here and compete," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "For a young guy, he's developing a feel for pitching very quickly.

"Every time we have evaluation meetings, the resounding theme with Sean is this guy just wins. He's done it in the minor leagues and he's done it here, and we can see firsthand why. He competes very well."

O'Sullivan spent 2008 at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and began this season at double-A Arkansas. Injuries, and the death of Nick Adenhart, pushed O'Sullivan to triple A and then the big leagues, probably before the Angels would have preferred.

But O'Sullivan has hardly been overwhelmed. He beat San Francisco, Texas and Kansas City and pitched well enough to give the Angels a chance to win his other two starts.

"I have an extremely competitive nature," O'Sullivan said. "My goal from the first pitch is to keep the other team from scoring more runs than we do. I'll give you everything I've got until you come and get the ball from me."

Circumstances, not performance, have led to O'Sullivan's demotions. He was sent down Tuesday because the Angels won't need a fifth starter again until Aug. 8.

"I just go where they tell me to go," O'Sullivan said Tuesday night. "I'm trying to make the best of this opportunity and let them know I can handle myself at this level."

Speed bump

The fast track back to the big leagues that Jose Arredondo appeared to be on was derailed a bit Tuesday night.

The reliever who returned from an elbow injury last week and allowed no runs and two hits in 3 2/3 innings of three games at triple A, striking out four and walking none, had a rough fourth game.

Arredondo gave up three runs -- one earned -- and walked three in one inning against Fresno on Tuesday. Though one of the walks was intentional, the right-hander issued a bases-loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run.

Command was Arredondo's biggest problem when he was demoted to triple A with a 5.55 ERA on June 9, a huge step back from his rookie year, when he went 10-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 52 games.

The Angels, who are pursuing trades for a late-inning reliever, are hoping Arredondo will provide a boost to their bullpen.

"He was a little erratic -- he had a rough one [Tuesday] night," Scioscia said. "But in the big picture, he's taking some big strides."

Short hops

Juan Rivera sat out his fourth straight game Wednesday because of a tight right hamstring but was able to run "at about 80%" before the game, he said. It appears doubtful he will return before this weekend. "It might be a couple more days," Scioscia said. "We're going to be cautious with it." . . . Scioscia said Saturday's starter against Minnesota would be a pitcher on the current roster; Matt Palmer appears to have the edge over Shane Loux.


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