Results tagged ‘ Jerome Williams ’
Yes, the Angels — 10 games below .500, 12 games back in the AL West, 9 1/2 games back of the final Wild Card spot — haven’t had much luck with injuries this season, particularly with their highest-paid player (Albert Pujols) and the two guys they were counting on to turn their bullpen around (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett). You know who has been hit with more injuries? The Yankees team they’ll now face. I mean, just look at their lineup. And yet, they kept on rolling, while the Angels are in need of an amazing run to get back in the race.
“A lot of the things we see are very tangible, a lot of the things we see are reversible,” Mike Scioscia continues to say. “That has to be our goal, to get these guys out there playing consistent baseball and bringing the talent on the field, because we have the potential to have a terrific team.”
SP: LH Andy Pettitte (5-3, 3.82 ERA)
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (4-5, 4.05 ERA)
- Starting rotation-wise, we know Tommy Hanson and Jered Weaver are starting the other two games in this series, respectively. And now, we know Jason Vargas will start Monday, with the order resetting again on Wednesday and Thursday. Who’s starting on Tuesday? That’s a decision that will perceivably come down to Joe Blanton and Jerome Williams, and Scioscia didn’t reveal anything on Friday. “Let’s get through this weekend,” he said. You have to figure, that if Blanton were starting Tuesday, he’d simply be listed as the starter by the team. The fact he isn’t makes me believe it’s going to be Williams, as long as he isn’t needed out of the bullpen in some crazy long game (like the 18-inning game the Yankees played against the A’s last night). Just an educated guess, though.
- Robert Coello, placed on the disabled list with what the team called right shoulder inflammation, will be shut down from throwing for a minimum of four weeks. Coello’s elbow is also hurting.
- The Angels will honor Mariano Rivera on Saturday.
- The Angels have signed 34 of their 39 Draft picks. Among those remaining are their first selection, lefty Hunter Green, who was taken in the second round.
- Sicoscia, on his biggest takeaway from his time with Wells: “He worked very hard at the game. You could tell that his non-performance is something he did not take in stride. I mean he felt it. And whether he had a rough day the night before, he came out with a positive frame of mind and said, ‘I’m going to help us win today.’ Maybe fans don’t see that side of him, but he didn’t take it easy when he was struggling, and he knows that he’s a better player than what he showed when he played with us.”
- Wells, by the way, has cooled off considerably since his hot start. Over his last 40 games, he has a .182/.209/.284 slash line. He comes in batting .229/.274/.386, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs.
With Jered Weaver and Tommy Hanson returning and the pressure perceivably mounting, Joe Blanton bounced back, hurling two straight solid outings — the latest being seven innings of three-run ball in a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday night — to keep his spot in the rotation.
Mike Scioscia — who, for the record, never publicly said Blanton’s spot was in jeopardy — confirmed that much after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss. But he also said Jerome Williams will get at least one more start — even though Weaver returns on Wednesday, Hanson has already been activated off the restricted list and, as Scioscia confirmed, every other starter is healthy.
“I think we’re looking at a couple things moving forward,” said Scioscia, who will announce a corresponding move for activating Weaver off the DL prior to Wednesday’s game. “Jerome has the ability to help us, if we need it, out of the bullpen if something were to happen in the next couple days. But we’ll give him the ball again and take a look at things and see how things settle. Whatever role settles for Jerome, it’ll be an important role. Like I said, there’s a lot of things that are still settling right now about where our rotation will be.”
After Weaver and Jason Vargas, who gets the ball on extended rest Thursday, the Angels haven’t announced their scheduled starters. Friday would seem to make the most sense for Hanson to start, six days after throwing 75 pitches in a sim game, but it’s also Williams’ turn in the order. C.J. Wilson, who suffered the loss on Monday, would come up on Saturday and the Angels don’t have an off-day until June 6 (nine days from now).
Williams (2.58 ERA on the year, 3.19 ERA in five starts) could eventually be the victim in an unfortunate numbers crunch, if all remains equal.
Asked if he feels he deserves to stay in the rotation, Williams said: “Yeah, of course. … But all I have to do is play it by ear. Whatever they decide, I have to respect and just go about my business and do my thing.” Asked about any pressure to stay in the rotation heading into Tuesday’s start, Blanton (1-8, 5.94 ERA) pointed to his track record in saying he doesn’t believe he has anything to prove. Asked a similar question postgame, the 32-year-old right-hander chose not to comment.
But his game did the talking.
“Joe’s hopefully turned a corner on his rough start,” Scioscia said. “He’s pitched strong baseball for us his last couple outing. He’s made some adjustments and we’re going to keep him in his role.”
SP: RH Joe Blanton (0-5, 5.97 ERA)
SP: RH Bud Norris (3-3, 3.89 ERA)
- Pujols is back at DH today because his surgically repaired right knee is bothering him. Nine of his last 11 games (not including the Sunday game he was out of the lineup for) had come at first base. Since his four-hit, two-homer game in Oakland on April 29, he’s 2-for-23, with a homer, a walk and six strikeouts.
- Ryan Madson packed up his bags and left for Arizona on Wednesday, where he’ll pitch in at least two simulated games, then probably venture out on a rehab assignment, likely with the Cal League. On Tuesday, Madson talked about needing only two Minor League rehab outings, allowing him to return by the end of next week. That may be pushing it a little, but Scioscia didn’t rule it out pregame. “The process is not complete with Ryan,” Mike Scioscia said. “You have to see how he bounces back, see how his stuff plays.”
- The Angels are now 4-5 when scoring six-plus runs this season. Last year, they were 93-13 in those instances.
- A feature on Jerome Williams and the relationship with his late mother will run Sunday, at 4 p.m. PT on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. This week, Williams has been posting photos of him and his mom on his Twitter account. Here’s a story I wrote on this subject for Mother’s Day last year.
SP: RH Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 4.60 ERA)
SP: LH Jason Vargas (0-3, 4.85)
- As you might have noticed, Callaspo was activated off the disabled prior to Friday’s game. But going down was Andrew Romine, not Luis Jimenez. Mike Scioscia likes having a power right-handed bat off the bench like Jimenez — it’s essentially the role Bill Hall was going to play, before he got hurt in Spring Training — and he feels Brendan Harris can be used as a utility infielder. A big question with this decision, however, is Harris’ defense. It’s not his strong suit. Offense is. Romine was a much more capable defender. And maybe Jimenez would’ve benefited from some more at-bats in the Minors to polish up his approach, which has led to a lot of strikeouts at this level.
- In tune with his new role, Jimenez was getting some work in left field pregame. Scioscia said right now he’s only comfortable using Jimenez there in an “emergency” situation, but perhaps that can change if he gets better at it.
- Garrett Richards is going back to the bullpen, with Jerome Williams taking his spot in the rotation on Sunday. The move makes sense on a couple of fronts. First and foremost, the Angels need a relief pitcher to bridge the gap to the later innings, and Richards can do that in what he said is “a primary role” in the back end. Williams has struggled as a starting pitcher in recent outings, but he’s been really good in long relief lately.
- Sean Burnett said today that he’s going to fly to Florida to see Dr. James Andrews on Monday morning. After that, he’ll fly to Houston to rejoin the team on their two-city trip. The lefty reliever, out since April 27 with left forearm irritation, didn’t sound very concerned. But it’s always frightening when pitchers see Dr. Andrews, so it’s definitely something worth monitoring.
- It looks like Scott Downs (pain in his right side) will avoid the DL. At least for now. He probably won’t be available Friday, but Scioscia is going to have him go through his normal pregame nonetheless.
- Mark Lowe (left neck strain) will pitch two innings for Class A Inland Empire on Sunday. He’s eligible to be activated that day, so that may be Lowe’s final outing before rejoining the team.
- Shortstop Tommy Field suffered a broken finger shortly after he was sent down on April 23. He’s on the 7-day Minor League DL and could miss a month.
The Angels’ 19-inning loss last night was a devastating one, but it was also quite memorable. It was the longest game in Angels history — A’s, too — and it witnessed several encouraging performances. Tommy Hanson pitched six innings of two-run ball with a heavy heart, Chris Iannetta squatted for 19 innings behind the plate, Mark Trumbo hit a 475-foot homer that was tied for the longest in the Majors this season, Albert Pujols had four hits, went deep twice and played the field despite having plantar fasciitis on his left foot, and Jerome Williams hurled six innings of one-run ball in relief.
Still, though, the Angels were in no mood to reminisce on Tuesday.
“I don’t feel any nostalgia towards it,” Trumbo said. “It’s all about winning, and we didn’t do it.”
SP: RH Garrett Richards (1-1, 3.65 ERA)
SP: RH Jarrod Parker (0-4, 8.10 ERA)
- The Angels officially placed Peter Bourjos on the disabled list today with a strained left hamstring, activating Aybar. Also, outfielder Scott Cousins had his contract purchased from Triple-A Salt Lake and Michael Roth was sent down. The Angels’ 40-man roster is back at 40, and the Angels are back to the traditional seven relievers and four-man bench — despite the fact seven relievers accounted for 12 2/3 innings the night before. “Really, we’re as banged up on the lineup side,” Mike Scioscia said.
- It looks like only Jerome Williams and Michael Kohn will be unavailable tonight. Ernesto Frieri is good to go, as are Barry Enright, Dane De La Rosa, Nick Maronde and Scott Downs.
- Luis Jimenez‘s bruised left shin is “a little tight,” Scioscia said, but he may be available to play defense. If the Angels get a lead late, don’t be surprised to see him sub in for Harris at third.
- Still no time frame on how long Bourjos’ hamstring will keep him out. Obviously, as a speed guy, he needs that to be 100 percent before returning.
- Ryan Madson is still not throwing.
- Jimenez has some experience in the outfield from winter ball, so that may be an option for him once Alberto Callaspo returns.
Is there ANY hope for this bullpen? Trades? Minors? WEAVER?!?!?!??!??? — @jasiahsdad
Whoa, easy buddy. I know you’re frustrated, but I don’t think transitioning the Angels’ ace to the bullpen is the answer here — but point taken. Unless Jerry Dipoto can pull another early-season miracle — acquiring Ernesto Frieri from the Padres in early May last year was really, really hard — it is what it is, basically. There aren’t many (if any) teams that can stomach having four relievers (Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett, Kevin Jepsen and Mark Lowe) on the disabled list at the same time. The Angels have just three members of the Opening Day bullpen available as relievers right now — Jerome Williams, Frieri and Scott Downs. Think about that. For as well as Dane De La Rosa has pitched, it’s tough to count on him on an everyday basis to come through in tight situations. But that’s where the Angels are, because of all the injuries and because the starters — until just recently — have struggled. Sure, they can put in a waiver claim or two, spin a few minor trades, but nothing that’s going to change the landscape down there. For the most part, they just have to wear it — while hoping for more depth from the rotation, lots of production from the offense and a quick return to health. Sorry if that’s not the answer you’re looking for.
SP: RH Garrett Richards (1-0, 2.55 ERA)
SP: RH Brandon Maurer (1-3, 7.45 ERA)
- Pujols, in case you didn’t notice, is playing first base today for the first time since April 15. He’s started seven straight games at DH, including nine of his last 10. The plantar fasciitis on his left foot, he said, is no better and no worse. But he doesn’t feel like it would bother him too much playing defense. He hopes to start three of the four games of this series there, then Monday and Tuesday against Oakland.
- Seeking some length in the bullpen, with Michael Roth and Jerome Williams both knocked out, the Angels called up Barry Enright, who has been struggling mightily in Triple-A. He’ll serve as a long reliever.
- Sean Burnett (right forearm) is good to go. He was ready on Wednesday, if needed. But the game got out of hand in a hurry.
- Tommy Hanson is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the team on Monday and start that game — the series opener against the A’s.
- Erick Aybar (left heel) played five innings in extended Spring Training today and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. No word yet on when he can be back.
- Alberto Callaspo has progressed towards during sprints, but his right calf is still bothering him when he moves side to side. He isn’t expected to return from the DL on this road trip.
- Right-handed reliever Elvin Ramirez cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake, clearing a spot on the Angels’ 40-man roster (now at 39).
SP: RH Alexi Ogando (2-1, 3.32 ERA)
SP: LH Jason Vargas (0-2, 6.75 ERA)
- Yet another new face has graced the Angels’ bullpen. On Tuesday, lefty Nick Maronde was called up from Double-A Arkansas, with shortstop Tommy Field getting optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake and the Angels going with a three-man bench. The reason? Lefty Sean Burnett is currently sidelined with some tightness in his forearm, which he chalks up as part of the recovery from the removal of bone spurs in his elbow. It’s a day-to-day situation, but the Angels need as many healthy arms as possible in the ‘pen. That’s five new faces in two weeks (Maronde, Michael Roth, Dane De La Rosa, Michael Kohn and David Carpenter). The Angels now have four lefty relievers. There were times when Mike Scioscia didn’t have any.
- Erick Aybar will go with the team to Seattle, but won’t be activated off the disabled list on Thursday, as he said he was shooting for on Monday. Mike Scioscia wants Aybar to get a couple days in extended Spring Training in order to work on his prep step, since the left heel could be sensitive to playing shortstop.
- Jerome Williams still looks likely to make the start on Wednesday against the Rangers, but it isn’t official. Scioscia is waiting until postgame, just in case he has to use them. Lifetime against Texas, Williams has a 7.34 ERA. “I’m not worried about their lineup,” he said. “I’m worried about what I’m doing out there.”
- Alberto Callaspo (right calf strain) is “still not quite where you’d want him to be,” Scioscia said, but added that “there’s a probability he’ll be ready over the weekend.” Callaspo is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.
Angels ace Jered Weaver is expected to miss at least four weeks with a broken left elbow, the club announced on Tuesday.
Weaver suffered the injury while trying to avoid a comebacker at Rangers Ballpark on Sunday night. The 30-year-old right-hander had already given up five runs in five innings, his fastball velocity eerily dropping close to the mid-80s once again, when Mitch Moreland hit a line drive up the middle to start the bottom of the sixth.
The shot barely missed Weaver, but prompted him to land awkwardly on his non-pitching elbow and immediately come out of the game. X-rays came back negative, but Weaver said: “It’s pretty painful now. It feels like when you jam a thumb, but it’s in the elbow.”
Weaver can now miss anywhere from five to seven turns through the rotation, which is crippling news to a staff that came into the season with perceived question marks one thru five. His next turn was slated for Saturday, at home against the Astros.
Garrett Richards, who has great stuff and is coming off a sparkling spring, seems like the logical choice to take Weaver’s spot in the rotation, but the 24-year-old right-hander has been working out of the bullpen. Another option, if Richards doesn’t have enough length, could be long reliever Jerome Williams.
Right-handed reliever Dane De La Rosa, acquired from the Rays on March 27 for righty Steven Geltz, was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to take Weaver’s roster spot, giving the Angels an extra arm in the bullpen.
Come Monday, Jered Weaver will be making his fourth straight Opening Day start, Josh Hamilton‘s reunion tour will begin and the Angels will (once again) try to cash in on the grand expectations they carry into the season.
Before that happens, here’s a station-to-station look at where they stand heading into what should be a very fun 2013 …
Position players: I don’t see a way this team won’t be among the top three in runs scored in the American League this season. From mid-May to the end of the season last year, when Mike Trout arrived in more ways than one and Albert Pujols remembered he’s Albert Freakin’ Pujols, the Angels led the Majors in runs per game. And that was without Hamilton, mind you. The Angels have three dynamic speed guys (Peter Bourjos-Trout-Erick Aybar) and three lethal power hitters (Pujols-Hamilton-Mark Trumbo) all conveniently lining up together. The rest of the guys (Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Iannetta) don’t need to be anything more than themselves for the Angels to be an offensive juggernaut. Defensively, Trout-Bourjos-Hamilton could be the best defensive outfield in baseball (which tailors perfectly to their flyball-heavy pitching staff) and the infield is solid at every position.
Starters: Angels starters got their necessary work this spring, but just barely. Spring Training may not teach us much, but it certainly didn’t quell any apprehensions about this rotation. Everyone except the no-walks Joe Blanton struggled at some point, with Weaver, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson all bringing temporary concerns that they wouldn’t have enough stamina heading into the regular season. But they do, and most importantly, they’re all healthy. Are they good enough to match one of the best offenses in baseball? No. Will they be adequate enough to eat innings (so the ‘pen doesn’t get worn out) and keep the Angels in games (with the lineup taking care of the rest)? That’s the plan. The key: C.J. Wilson, the $77.5 million No. 2 starter who should be a lot better than his 2012 second half.
Relievers: The Angels are deeper here, with or without Ryan Madson (who is still on track to return in late April or early May, barring another setback). They’ve added arguably the best free-agent lefty available in Sean Burnett, will have a full season of Ernesto Frieri, are banking on Kevin Jepsen‘s last three months being no fluke and, along with Scott Downs, seemingly have four formidable options to protect leads late in games. There’s also the high-upside Garrett Richards, coming off a great spring, the hard-throwing Mark Lowe, who the Angels have targeted since November, and the veteran Jerome Williams. Many will point to last year’s 22 blown saves as the biggest reason the Angels ultimately missed the playoffs, and this year, they’re better in the ‘pen. But that’s on paper. Relievers are a very unpredictable species.
Reserves: If all their everyday players stay healthy, this won’t be much of a factor, particularly in the AL. Chances are, though, injuries will happen. And given that, the Angels took a step back with regards to their bench (though if you’re going to pick one area to downgrade, this would be it). Without Vernon Wells, they don’t have any real power threat in reserve — besides Hank Conger, but he’s the backup catcher — and are pretty darn young. Andrew Romine takes over for the seasoned Maicer Izturis and Conger, awfully talented but coming off a spring soured by throwing woes, has spent most of the last three years in Triple-A. Contact-hitting lefty outfielder J.B. Shuck is the third player on this bench making his first Opening Day roster. The last reserve, veteran infielder Brendan Harris, hasn’t been in the big leagues since 2010.
Depth: The Angels’ farm system is dead last in all of baseball, according to ESPN and Baseball America. But those in the organization will tell you that mostly has to do with pitching; their position-player talent is just fine. Furthermore, the Angels’ front office is confident they’ve built more depth in the upper levels to serve as insurance in 2013. The Triple-A roster has several players with Major League experience, such as Luis Rodriguez, Tommy Field, Scott Cousins, Trent Oeltjen, Chris Snyder (possibly), John Hester, Luke Carlin, Mitch Stetter and Fernando Cabrera. But with Richards’ length shortened in the ‘pen, and Williams’ workload unpredictable as a swing man, where do the Angels turn if something happens to one of their starters? Barry Enright, Billy Buckner, Matt Shoemaker and the young A.J. Schugel figure to make up the Salt Lake Bees’ rotation.
Financials: The Angels’ payroll sits under $150 million, thanks to the Yankees taking on $11.5 million of Wells’ 2013 salary in the recent trade. The deal also bought them some luxury tax flexibility. Prior to the deal, the Angels’ Competitive Balance Tax payroll — which takes into account the average annual value of all 40-man roster salaries, plus benefits and performance bonuses at the end of the season — was $178 million, the threshold at which first-time offenders are taxed 17.5 percent by Major League Baseball. Now, it’s about $172M, giving them some flexibility to take on salary in an in-season trade. Last year, after acquiring Zack Greinke, their CBT payroll was at $178 million, which affected their pursuit of some necessary relief-pitching help.
Underlying theme: Expectations can do some funny things, and it’ll be interesting to see how the magnitude of it all will play into how the Angels go about — and react to — their second year under the microscope. Will it affect them out of the gate? Will it bring turmoil in the clubhouse, especially now that Torii Hunter is gone? Can it cause more tension between Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia, who have their philosophical differences and were at odds at times last season? And what will it lead Arte Moreno to do if they miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season?
In addition to Trumbo at DH, how much time do you think he will get a first base and right field, giving Pujols and Hamilton a day to rest their legs? (Stephen H., San Luis Obispo)
Plenty. And if I had to pin a number on it, I’d say there’s a very good chance — even if everyone stays healthy — that Trumbo spends about half his time playing the field. If he’s hitting, he’ll be in the lineup for all the Angels’ Interleague games. For a good chunk of April, with Pujols in the early stages of his return from offseason knee surgery, he figures to play plenty of first base. With Wells gone, he’s also the fourth outfielder. And fundamentally, with so much money tied to Hamilton and Pujols long-term, Scioscia will get them off their feet as often as necessary now that he has a revolving door at DH (that wasn’t very feasible with Kendrys Morales there last year).
Do you see the day when the Angels move Trout down in the batting order and put Bourjos, if he can cut it, in the leadoff spot? (Albert H., Los Angeles)
I do. Scioscia continues to say Trout profiles better in the middle of the order, the reason being that you want your best hitter to be in as many RBI situations as possible. The makeup of the Angels’ lineup right now — with Pujols, Hamilton and Trumbo in the middle of the order, and no clear solution in the leadoff spot just yet — means Trout is the best fit to bat first. You can argue that the Angels’ everyday lineup doesn’t figure to change much any time soon, with almost everyone in the books long term. But Trout is the kind of player you construct a lineup around, and his bat figures to eventually become too potent to not put in the 3 spot.
Is this the year the Angels finally get back to the playoffs and make a deep run? (Samuel M., Tempe, Ariz.)
Who knows. I do think that, on paper, they are the best team in the AL West and should win the division. Once you get in the playoffs, it’s a crapshoot. The sample size is too small. But 162 games is not a small sample size, and if the Angels stay healthy, there is no excuse for not taking the division crown. The Rangers’ lineup took a step back, replacing Hamilton with Lance Berkman, and the pitching staff won’t have Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis or Joakim Soria to start the season. The A’s are deep, but will need a lot of guys to over-perform again. It’s nice to see the Mariners spending money, but they still have holes and concerns all over the place. And the Astros are a last-place team. But who am I kidding — predicting a baseball season is a foolish act.
Now, at last, we can see how it all plays out on the field.