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Big day for Jason Isringhausen, off day for Bobby Abreu

March 29, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Jason Isringhausen delivers against the Cincinnati Reds in a spring training game.
Jason Isringhausen delivers against the Cincinnati Reds in a spring training… (Mark Duncan / Associated…)

Tempe, Ariz. — By the end of the day Thursday, veteran reliever Jason Isringhausen will know whether he has secured a spot in the Angels bullpen or is headed for retirement.

Isringhausen, the 39-year-old right-hander who signed a minor league contract in February, is scheduled to pitch the second of back-to-back games Thursday when the Angels face the Kansas City Royals in Tempe Diablo Stadium.

After struggling with mechanics and command in two of his first four outings, Isringhausen looked sharper Wednesday when he retired the side in order in an inning against the Cincinnati Reds.

Under the terms of baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, teams must pay certain major league veterans on minor league contracts an extra $100,000 to keep them on rosters past Thursday. The Angels are unlikely to make that investment if Isringhausen is not in their plans.

If Isringhausen, who has 300 career saves and has endured three Tommy John surgeries on his throwing elbow, makes the opening-day roster, he will receive a base salary of $650,000. If he doesn’t, he said he would most likely retire.

Isringhausen isn’t the only Angels veteran with a tenuous future. Bobby Abreu, 38, is hitting .087 (4 for 46) this spring, and Manager Mike Scioscia gave him Thursday off to work on the lower fields with batting coach Mickey Hatcher.

“He needs to take a little breather and get a little better direction as to where his swing is,” Scioscia said.

Instead of pitching against the Royals on Thursday, Ervin Santana will start a triple-A game with a target of six innings and 90 pitches. Closer Jordan Walden and reliever Scott Downs are also scheduled to pitch, while reliever Francisco Rodriguez was reassigned to minor league camp.

The Angels lineup: SS Erick Aybar, 2B Howie Kendrick, 1B Albert Pujols, RF Torii Hunter, LF Vernon Wells, DH Kendrys Morales, 3B Mark Trumbo, C Hank Conger, CF Peter Bourjos, P Eric Hurley.

The Royals lineup: CF Lorenzo Cain, SS Alcides Escobar, 1B Eric Hosmer, RF Jeff Francoeur, 3B Mike Moustakas, 2B Yuniesky Betancourt, DH Mitch Maier, LF Jason Bourgeois, C Humberto Quntero, P Everett Teaford.

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Big day for Jason Isringhausen, off day for Bobby Abreu

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