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ANGELS FYI

New pitch has Kevin Jepsen rolling

After struggling early, the reliever has had a resurgence lately and is developing into a quality set-up man.

July 25, 2009|Ben Bolch

One thing Kevin Jepsen has learned during his rookie season is not to dwell on bad outings. Not that he's been able to put that lesson to use much lately.

After enduring awful stretches with the Angels in April and June, the right-hander has been so reliable this month that he's starting to be entrusted with the setup role in front of closer Brian Fuentes. Jepsen recorded the final four outs Friday in a 6-3 win over Minnesota but gave up a run on Brian Buscher's two-out single in the ninth, but he has lowered his earned-run average from 12.34 to 7.48.

Jepsen credited his resurgence in part to a cut fastball that pitching coach Mike Butcher helped him develop about three weeks ago by adjusting his grip.

"It adds another weapon for me and I feel like that's been a huge deal," Jepsen said. "Having that pitch has just been unbelievable."

Butcher said Jepsen, who turns 25 on Sunday, has also become more comfortable in recent weeks and is getting better results as his pitch location has improved.

Let's make a deal?

Though the Angels failed in their efforts to land veteran reliever Rafael Betancourt, traded Thursday from Cleveland to Colorado, General Manager Tony Reagins said his club was equipped with "pieces to offer that would make a deal attractive. [But] it takes two sides to get any deal done."

Reagins said there were players "out there that would allow us to strengthen the club, but we're not going to just make a deal to make a deal."

Does anything appear imminent?

"Every day we're having conversations," Reagins said, "but I would say we're no closer now than we were last week."

Catch me if you can

Chicago White Sox outfielder Dewayne Wise's spectacular ninth-inning catch Thursday that helped preserve Mark Buehrle's perfect game stirred some memories for Angels broadcaster Rex Hudler.

With Kenny Rogers pitching a perfect game for Texas in July 1994, Hudler led off the ninth inning for the Angels in Arlington. "I got up there in the on-deck circle . . . and I was looking at the crowd, going, 'I'm going to get him!' " Hudler recalled.

Hudler thought he did just that when he hit the ball into the right-center field gap. He could only watch in disbelief as Rangers center fielder Rusty Greer, "flying out like Superman, parallel to the ground," made a diving catch and Rogers went on to finish off the perfect game.

"Those plays are special," said Hudler, who was also part of a St. Louis team no-hit by Fernando Valenzuela in 1990. "They rarely happen."

Short hops

The Angels recalled hard-throwing reliever Bobby Mosebach from triple-A Salt Lake and optioned outfielder Terry Evans to the Bees. Mosebach, whose fastball touches 97 mph, had been a setup man for Salt Lake, going 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA and four saves in 17 appearances. Right-hander Kelvim Escobar was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Mosebach on the 40-man roster. . . . Injured outfielders Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter have not resumed baseball activities and there is no timetable for their return. Outfielder Juan Rivera could return from a tight hamstring Sunday, most likely as a designated hitter. . . . The game against Texas on Aug. 8 at Angel Stadium has been moved to 1 p.m. and will be televised nationally by Fox.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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