Santiago optioned to Triple-A …
The Angels now have only an 11-man pitching staff, but will probably go back to the traditional 12 by Friday, with either Dane De La Rosa or Sean Burnett returning from the disabled list and a position player – likely Efren Navarro – going down to Triple-A.
Simply put, Santiago needs to pitch.
The 26-year-old left-hander had made only two appearances in nearly two weeks as a pseudo swingman and the Angels still view him as a starting pitcher long term. So he’ll get stretched out again with the Salt Lake Bees, with the hope of recapturing the command that will eventually bring him back to the rotation.
“Take it as a positive,” Santiago said, even though it was hard for him to. “They want me in the rotation; they want to keep me stretched out. But now it’s just time to work and get back into it.”
Santiago, acquired along with Tyler Skaggs in the three-team deal that sent Mark Trumbo to the D-backs in December, went 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA in the first seven starts of his Angels career. Some of it had to do with very little run support, or several instances of bad luck, or a back ailment he nursed through most of his first three starts. But mostly, Santiago was walking too many hitters (4.3 per nine innings) and letting too many innings snowball.
So early Wednesday afternoon, Santiago got called into manager Mike Scioscia’s office, where general manager Jerry Dipoto and pitching coach Mike Butcher were waiting with news the southpaw partly deemed inevitable.
“We were very open and honest about what we saw and what he needs to do, and Hector was very receptive,” Scioscia said. “I think he has a good frame of mind to work on the things he needs to work on, and I’d be very surprised if we’re not seeing him throwing the ball to his capabilities in a short amount of time, because he has a great arm.”
In the meantime, Matt Shoemaker will continue to fill Santiago’s old spot.
Shoemaker, a 27-year-old Minor League journeyman, has given up just three runs in 11 innings while beating Cliff Lee and David Price in two starts. He’ll take his regular turn on Saturday – the Angels are keeping their pitching schedule in order after the Thursday off day – and continue to start until either he struggles or Santiago gets it together or both occur.
“It’s a little bump in the road,” Santiago said. “Go down and work on the same thing we’ve been working on and take some positives out of the last outing and run with it.”
Some additional notes from a pretty newsy day …
- Mike Trout was out of the starting lineup for the first time on Wednesday due to the left hamstring tightness he’s been experiencing for the last few days. The move was just precautionary, because Trout can take two days off with the Angels not playing on Thursday. He said the hamstring actually feels better today.
- Pitching prospect R.J. Alvarez was placed on the seven-day Minor League disabled list due to some “elbow tenderness,” Dipoto confirmed. Alvarez flew back to Anaheim to get an MRI, which is pretty much standard operating procedure. Alvarez’s velocity was normal during his most recent outing on May 12 — five strikeouts in two perfect innings for Double-A Arkansas — and the Angels don’t have any reason to believe it’s anything serious at this point.
- Calhoun batted sixth today, but will probably return to the leadoff spot when Josh Hamilton returns to the lineup (maybe Monday).
- De La Rosa (Triple-A) and Burnett (Double-A) are both slated to pitch in a rehab outing today.
- Ian Stewart (left hand contusion) is still experiencing some pain when he takes batting practice, but is hoping to go on a rehab assignment this weekend.