The Angels have removed Joe Blanton from their starting rotation, moving the pitcher who leads the major leagues in losses into their bullpen.
Garrett Richards will replace Blanton in the rotation, starting with Saturday's game against the first-place Oakland Athletics. Richards has started four games this season, the last one a 10-6 loss to Oakland on April 30, and has been in the Angels' bullpen since then.
Blanton, 32, is 2-13 with a 5.66 earned-run average. No major league pitcher has given up more hits, runs or home runs.
He is under contract for $6.5 million this season and $7.5 million next season, with a $1-million buyout guaranteed for the 2015 season.
Manager Mike Scioscia met with General Manager Jerry Dipoto and pitching coach Mike Butcher on Wednesday morning to discuss the team's pitching situation, after which Blanton was informed of the decision to remove him from the rotation.
Scioscia said there is no timetable for Blanton to return as a starter and said the Angels want him to work on improvements without the pressure inherent in a rotation spot.
"We just want to get Joe out of the grind of starting," Scioscia said, "and give him a chance to make some adjustments."
The Angels claimed right-handed reliever J.C. Gutierrez on waivers from the Kansas City Royals and plan to add him to their major league roster Thursday. The Angels did not say whose roster spot Gutierrez would take.
"He's got a power arm," Scioscia said. "We'll see where he fits in our bullpen."
Gutierrez, 30, had a 3.38 ERA in 25 appearances in Kansas City. The Royals designated him for assignment last week.
Gutierrez underwent elbow ligament-replacement surgery in 2011. This is his first full season since the surgery.
Gutierrez has a 4.58 ERA in 175 appearances, most of them for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2009 to 2011. Dipoto was a Diamondbacks executive then, including a short stint in 2010 as interim general manager.
Tim Salmon speaks up
Tim Salmon, whose career coincided with the height of the steroid era, said he is delighted that the current generation of players has risen up and spoken up against the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
"What I'm really proud of in our game right now," Salmon said, "is the groundswell of players taking a stand and saying they're frustrated with the situation."
Salmon, the Angels' franchise leader in home runs, spent his entire career (1992-2006) in Anaheim.
If individual suspensions do not stop players from using drugs — Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers was suspended 65 games this week, with suspensions expected for Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and others — Salmon said the league ought to consider penalizing the player and his team. Bartolo Colon of the Athletics was hit with a 50-game suspension last season; he won 10 games.
"Take away that player's wins, and the A's don't win the division by one game," Salmon said.
Salmon said players who pledge support to cheating teammates would no longer do so if the team — and not just the player — suffered the penalties.
"If that guy gets busted and all of a sudden you go from first place to fourth place," Salmon said, "do you think those guys are going to be supportive of him?"