Ervin Santana won't make his scheduled start Friday due to "arm… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
The Angels will skip starting pitcher Ervin Santana’s spot in the rotation Friday to allow the struggling right-hander to continue sorting out “arm slot” issues in bullpen sessions, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday.
Dan Haren will now pitch Friday at home against the Tampa Bay Rays after Thursday’s off day, followed by left-hander C.J. Wilson on Saturday, Scioscia said.
Santana is expected to return to the rotation for a maximum 15-outs start “early next week” during the Angels’ four-game road trip to Texas, the manager said.
Santana (4-10, 6.00 earned-run average) didn’t make it through the second inning Saturday against Texas, allowing six earned runs and three home runs.
Scioscia said he and pitching coach Mike Butcher concluded that Santana needed the “power bullpens” to reestablish his correct pitching release point, delivery and arm slot.
Because Santana “gets too far on top” in his arm slot, he “telegraphs pitches,” Scioscia said, “the slider has … not enough velocity and his fastball doesn’t have much life.”
“Our team needs him, something’s definitely going well with the bullpens and Ervin feels comfortable with things.”
Thursday’s day off provided the flexibility to implement the side work, with Scioscia acknowledging it’s “very clear” Santana has “adjustments … he needs to make .… You’re looking at a guy searching for things. This is a big adjustment.”
Scioscia said he had no problem with Santana’s game focus or preparation.
With the nonwaiver trade deadline looming Tuesday, Santana’s name emerged in a reported trade scenario this week with Tampa Bay. The Angels have scouted Rays starting pitchers James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson.
“This is not just pushing him back, trying to get him out [of the rotation],” Scioscia said. “We’re doing this for Ervin’s benefit.”
PUJOLS OUT OF LINEUP: First baseman Albert Pujols was held out of the starting lineup in Wednesday's 12:35 p.m. game against the Kansas City Royals after being hit on his right elbow by a pitch Tuesday night.
Pujols has a bruise and an X-ray on Wednesday morning came back negative, the Angels announced. The slugger said he believed the soreness that required an elbow wrap was a "day to day" thing that would be better Friday.
Pujols said the Will Smith pitch hit him "straight up," and didn't glance off his bat as television replays appeared to indicate.
"The ball had a big horizontal cut and tracked right to his elbow," Scioscia said of the Smith pitch.
Pujols remained at-bat after a brief break, striking out with a swing clearly compromised by the blow. Serving as designated hitter Tuesday, he then grounded out to shortstop in the ninth inning.
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