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Angels' Sean Burnett unavailable for a few games

Left-handed reliever has forearm tightness. Mike Scioscia has a nine-man bullpen.

April 23, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels left-hander Sean Burnett will be unavailable for a few games because of forearm tightness after an MRI revealed there was no significant damage.
Angels left-hander Sean Burnett will be unavailable for a few games because… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)

An Angels bullpen that has lost Ryan Madson, Kevin Jepsen and Mark Lowe to injury and Garrett Richards to the rotation absorbed another blow on Tuesday.

Left-hander Sean Burnett underwent an MRI test after his forearm tightened up over the weekend. There is no significant damage, but Burnett, who has a 1.13 earned-run average in 10 games, won't be available until Thursday at the earliest.

Burnett, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2004 and had bone spurs removed from the elbow last winter, was not available Monday night, when the Angels gave up three runs in the seventh inning of a 7-6 loss to the Rangers.

"He's a vital piece of our bullpen, and we need him 100%," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's why we've had some kid gloves on him when he's needed to rebound a bit. Hopefully, once he gets back, he'll contribute like he has."

To ease the loss of Burnett and add depth to a bullpen that threw seven innings in Sunday's 13-inning win over Detroit and has been overworked for much of April, the Angels recalled left-hander Nick Maronde from double A and sent infielder Tommy Field to triple A.

That left only three position players — catcher Hank Conger, infielder Andrew Romine and outfielder J.B. Shuck — on the bench Tuesday night.

"There's more risk if you're short on pitching," Scioscia said. "We've gone through a lot of pitching. You need that fresh arm at times."

The Angels used to go entire seasons without a left-hander in the bullpen. They now have four — Burnett, Scott Downs, Michael Roth and Maronde — and nine relievers total. Five current relievers — Maronde, Roth, Dane De La Rosa, Michael Kohn and David Carpenter — didn't open the season with the team.

"Not only I have I not seen a bullpen with four lefties," Scioscia said, "I can't ever remember having a nine-man bullpen."

Surprise starter

Jerome Williams was expected to start Wednesday night in place of Tommy Hanson, who is on the bereavement list, but Scioscia said after Tuesday night's game that Roth, who was pitching for the University of South Carolina at this time last year, will start instead.

Williams has yielded a 7.34 earned-run average, nine homers and a .656 slugging percentage in 30 2/3 innings against Texas, but Scioscia said his decision had more to do with the three innings and 36 pitches Williams threw Sunday against Detroit.

“We can back up Michael with some guys if we have to, and that gives us more areas where we can use Jerome if we need to,” Scioscia said.

“Jerome threw a lot of pitches two days ago, and I think Michael has a chance for a little more length.”

Short hops

Erick Aybar (bruised left heel) is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday, but the shortstop probably will play extended spring-training games in Arizona this weekend before joining the team. … Jered Weaver (broken left elbow) will begin playing catch Wednesday — for five minutes at 60 feet. … Third baseman Alberto Callaspo (right calf tightness) won't be activated when he's eligible to come off the DL Saturday, but he should be ready early next week.

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