Angels reliever Scott Downs delivers a pitch during a game against the Colorado… (Dustin Bradford / Getty…)
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Angels lost an integral part of their bullpen Tuesday when left-handed reliever Scott Downs was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a shoulder strain, an injury that could sideline him for several weeks.
“We’re comfortable with the fact that this won’t push him back too far, but he might need a couple of weeks for this to settle down,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Right now, it’s a minor issue, and we want to keep it that way.”
Downs, 37, will be replaced on the roster by left-hander Hisanori Takahashi, who was called up from triple-A Salt Lake and joined the team for Tuesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers.
Downs is 1-1 with a 2.57 earned-run average and nine saves in 38 games and has been especially effective against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .193 average. His loss could be felt acutely against teams like the Rangers, who feature left-handed sluggers such as Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland.
With Downs out, right-hander Ernesto Frieri will be the primary closer, and right-hander Kevin Jepsen will be the team’s primary set-up man. Veteran right-handers Jason Isringhausen and LaTroy Hawkins will also assume more prominent late-inning roles.
“It hurts us as far as some of the matchups we’ll be able to use later in the game, turning switch-hitters around and neutralizing power,” Scioscia said. “But there’s no doubt the arms we have are good, and hopefully they’ll be able to hold leads as well as we have been.”
Downs was nearly untouchable for the first three months of the season, with an 0.30 ERA through 32 games, but he has struggled in his last six appearances, giving up eight earned runs and eight hits, including the only two home runs he has given up this season, in five innings.
But Downs, whose injury was confirmed by an MRI test Tuesday, said his shoulder problem didn’t flare up until Friday night, when he threw a scoreless inning against Tampa Bay.
“It didn’t bother me until Friday -- it’s not an excuse for what happened the last couple of weeks,” Downs said. “I don’t know how long I’ll be out for, but I’m hoping it’s only a two-week deal. We’ll see.”
In other injury related news, right-hander Dan Haren, who tweaked a muscle on his right side in Friday night’s game against the Rays, will not make Wednesday night’s scheduled start against the Rangers. He will be replaced by right-hander Garrett Richards. Scioscia said he has penciled in Haren for Sunday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.
Takahashi, who is 0-2 with a 4.37 ERA in 33 games, was demoted to Salt Lake on Saturday when the Angels needed a roster spot for starter Zack Greinke, who was acquired in a trade with Milwaukee. Because he is replacing another injured player, he is not required to spend 10 days at triple A before being recalled.
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