Angels pitcher Kevin Jepsen, shown after giving up a home run Tuesday against… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
The Angels came out of spring training with what they thought was a pretty stable roster. But as with so many things involving the Angels this season, reality has fallen far short of expectations.
So Saturday the Angels made five transactions, finishing a five-day blitz that included them making nine personnel moves — two of which involved outfielder J.B. Shuck, who was optioned to the minors Friday afternoon then recalled the following morning.
And that doesn't even include Saturday's signing of former major leaguer Kip Wells to a minor league contract. Wells, who turns 36 on April 21, will report to extended spring training in Tempe, Ariz.
The biggest moves involved shortstop Erick Aybar and right-hander Kevin Jepsen, who joined opening day starter Jered Weaver on the disabled list. Aybar hasn't played since he sustained a bruise to his left heel Tuesday while Jepsen has been hindered by a triceps strain that has troubled him since spring training.
"Erick's not making enough progress," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Aybar, a former Gold Glove winner. "Our medical staff really feels this could be upwards of another week to 10 days."
Jepsen pitched in six of the Angels' first nine games, but he gave up four runs and four hits while getting just two outs in his final two appearances combined. Jepsen said the tender triceps, which also sidelined him for a time last month, was not allowing him to extend his arm and finish off pitches.
But it took a postgame meeting Friday with Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher to convince him he needed to give the injury a chance to heal.
"My initial reaction was … 'I'm going to pitch through this,'" said Jepsen, who expected to undergo an MRI exam in the next few days. "The more we talked, it's like pitching at 60%, is that really effective? Obviously not.
"So take two weeks now and get it back to where it needs to be and then pitch the last five months of the season the way I can throw."
In addition to Shuck, who took Aybar's place on the roster, the Angels called up left-hander Michael Roth from double-A Arkansas. To create a spot for Roth the Angels designated outfielder Scott Cousins for assignment.
Outfielder Josh Hamilton said he lost focus in the ninth inning of Friday's loss when he jogged around the bases on Mark Trumbo's one-out popup, allowing the Astros to double him off first base to end the game.
"It's just something that happens. You lose focus for a second," he said. "There's nothing I can do about it. Just try not to do it again."
But Hamilton said he is doing something about his performance at the plate, where he was hitting just .179 with a team-high 14 strikeouts entering Saturday.
"I feel so good. And I have felt good for a while," he said. "So it's just about continuing to do what I'm doing, seeing pitches, going deep in counts. And hopefully sooner rather than later they'll start falling.
"I feel like I'm putting together good at-bats."