Angels reliever Scott Downs, left, grimaces as a trainer examines his right… (Jim Mone / Associated Press )
NEW YORK — A beleaguered Angels bullpen got some good news Friday when an MRI test on Scott Downs' injured right ankle showed no significant damage, which means the team's best reliever will probably avoid the disabled list.
Downs twisted the ankle and had it stepped on while covering first in Thursday's 10-9 loss to Minnesota. He won't pitch this weekend, but the left-hander improved enough to be listed as day to day.
"It's still sore," said Downs, who was on crutches Thursday but will try to play catch Saturday, "but it's way better than it felt."
General Manager Jerry Dipoto has intensified his search for relief help after the bullpen failed to protect a two-run seventh-inning lead Wednesday and was torched for seven runs and 11 hits in three innings Thursday.
"We're looking under every rock, which we've been doing since November," Dipoto said. "But there isn't a surplus of high-quality relievers available."
Dipoto said he was not looking at free-agent pitchers, which would rule out veteran left-hander Mike Gonzalez. Dipoto's first move was in-house.
The Angels called up right-hander David Carpenter from triple-A Salt Lake on Friday and told left-hander Brad Mills from Salt Lake to be ready in case Downs has a setback. To make room for Carpenter, the Angels optioned utility player Alexi Amarista to triple A.
"There are 30 teams, and I bet all of them are not particularly satisfied with the depth of their pitching staff," Dipoto said. "The next team that utters the words 'We have a perfect bullpen' will be the first."
Call to arms
Carpenter was on the triple-A roster for the first eight games of the season, but he never made it to Salt Lake City. The Bees opened with eight road games, and Carpenter took a red-eye flight to New York on Thursday night, a day before Salt Lake's home opener.
"Everything I own is with my roommates in Salt Lake, so I'm here with a suit, four shirts and two pairs of jeans," Carpenter, 24, said. "I definitely have to go to a store soon."
Carpenter, who throws a low-90-mph fastball with late movement from a sidearm slot, had a 1.77 earned-run average in his first three seasons, jumping from Class A to double A in 2011. He did not give up a run in three innings for Salt Lake.
Though he got one hour of sleep Thursday night, adrenaline got him through his big-league debut, when he gave up one hit in a scoreless eighth inning Friday.
"I felt my legs shaking," Carpenter said, "but it was everything I could dream of."
Mark Trumbo, who made three errors in his first two starts at third base, fielded back-to-back grounders in the fourth inning Friday and threw accurately to first for outs. … Ervin Santana pitching against the Yankees on Friday the 13th is a bad combination. The right-hander has lost his last seven starts against New York, and the Angels, according to Stats, LLC, have a major league-worst 12-31 record on the date that is considered bad luck for those who are superstitious. … Erick Aybar's third-inning bunt single was his 50th bunt hit since the start of 2010, the most in the major leagues in that span.