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Angels designate Billy Buckner for assignment to make room on roster

Buckner, who gave up two hits in five scoreless innings against the Royals on Saturday, is replaced by reliever Kevin Jepsen. The Angels have decisions to make as players return from the disabled list.

May 27, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
  • Angels right-hander Billy Buckner picked up a victory in debut with the club on Saturday.
Angels right-hander Billy Buckner picked up a victory in debut with the… (John Sleezer / McClatchy-Tribune )

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Billy Buckner received a not-so-lovely departing gift Sunday. One day after giving up two hits in five scoreless innings of a 7-0 win over the Royals, the Angels right-hander was designated for assignment.

"It's a business, and I understand it," said Buckner, who will return to triple-A Salt Lake if he clears waivers. "They have a lot of guys coming off the disabled list. Someone has to go."

More will follow. Buckner was replaced by reliever Kevin Jepsen, who was activated after missing six weeks because of a shoulder strain and got Jeff Francoeur to pop to second with two on to end the seventh inning Sunday.

Ace Jered Weaver, out since April 8 because of a broken left elbow, will start Wednesday night against the Dodgers. And Tommy Hanson, on the restricted list since May 10, threw a five-inning, 75-pitch simulated game in Arizona on Saturday and could return by the weekend.

That means one current starter — Jerome Williams or Joe Blanton — will move to the bullpen and at least two relievers among a group that includes Mark Lowe, Michael Kohn, Garrett Richards, Dane De La Rosa and Robert Coello will be removed from the roster.

Sunday's injury to left-hander Sean Burnett, who could return to the disabled list, could buy more time for one of the relievers.

"We haven't had many tough decisions leading up to this," said Manager Mike Scioscia. "It points to the reestablishment of depth we need. We have some tough decisions. We have some guys coming back that are important to us. Though it might be tough on some individuals, it's good for us as an organization."

More bad calls

The Royals had beefs with the umpires about a pair of controversial calls that went against them Friday night and Saturday. Sunday was the Angels' turn.

In the eighth inning, first baseman Mark Trumbo snagged David Lough's two-out shot down the line and beat Lough to the bag, but umpire Scott Barry ruled that Trumbo missed the bag.

Replays showed Trumbo's toes bending upward as they hit the corner of the base. Elliot Johnson followed with a single, putting runners on first and third, but Scott Downs got Adam Moore to ground out, ending the inning.

In the ninth, plate umpire Marty Foster called Francoeur out on a swinging strike three, but second base umpire Tim Welke overruled, saying the ball was tipped. Replays showed it wasn't. Ernesto Frieri needed four more pitches to retire Francoeur and eventually closed out the game.

"The calls didn't go our way today," said Scioscia, who was ejected for arguing the Francoeur play, "but we played at a high enough level to absorb them."

Bee line

The Angels' dugout was infested with bees Sunday morning. No, the team hadn't recalled a bunch of players from triple-A Salt Lake, which is nicknamed the Bees. There were actual bees swarming around the bench, so many of them that the Angels had to cancel batting practice and hit in the indoor cages.

A beekeeper was summoned, and there was no disruption to the game.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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