Jordan Walden has a 3.86 earned run average in 31 appearances this season. (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles…)
The Angels' bullpen collected something other than a loss or blown save before opening a 10-game homestand against Seattle on Friday: some good news.
Season-opening closer Jordan Walden, on the disabled list since July 15 because of a strained right biceps and nerve problems in his neck, was moved to triple-A Salt Lake to begin a two-game rehabilitation assignment planned for Saturday and Monday and could rejoin the Angels next week.
Also, co-closer Scott Downs, out since July 28 with a left (pitching) shoulder strain, continued his long-toss program with no discomfort and could be green-lighted to throw off a mound within days.
"It's tough to watch any time, whether you're winning or losing," Downs said.
The bullpen did a lot of the latter during the 10-game trip that ended Wednesday. Angels relievers were tagged with five losses, four blown saves and 32 runs in 271/3 innings while surrendering 41 hits, 11 of them home runs.
The Angels made a bullpen adjustment after Friday's game, demoting right-hander reliever David Carpenter (4.76 earned-run average) to triple-A Salt Lake and calling up Salt Lake right-hander Steven Geltz. Geltz, 22, had a 2.09 ERA this season at Salt Lake and double-A Arkansas.
Vote of confidence
The pitching staff's woes had limited closer Ernesto Frieri to two appearances this month before Friday.
Frieri said he was willing to deliver a three-inning save if necessary to help ease the burden on the taxed middle relievers.
A schedule stretch that brings to town Seattle and Cleveland -- a combined 19 games under .500 before Friday -- could help after playing 42 of 45 games against teams with winning records.
"I still have confidence in the guys," Frieri said, "and when Walden and Scotty get back, it's going to be tough to beat us."
He also defended pitching coach Mike Butcher, as the bullpen slumped to 12th in the American League in ERA (3.97).
"He's a hard worker, and since I've got here he's been the guy with Mike Scioscia to give me the confidence to be a closer," said Frieri, who joined the Angels in a trade with the San Diego Padres in early May.
"I'm a wild pitcher. The Padres hated that about me. Butcher told me, 'We don't care if you're wild a couple times, just be aggressive,' and that's why I've been successful."
No tweets for him
Angels catcher Bobby Wilson closed his Twitter account, @BW46, tweeting, "I'm done with twitter. Try to be fan friendly and all I get is criticism. I wasn't blessed with 5 tools. I worked hard to get here."
Wilson elaborated Friday that negative fan comments drove the decision, saying that when the remarks get too personal or are directed at his family, "no one wants to hear it."
Wilson said he regretted responding to one of the negative comments.