Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated Sunday that he will show limited patience with his pitching staff, telling reporters, “We need to change some things.”
The Angels might hold off a full evaluation until right-hander Joel Pineiro (right shoulder tightness) and lefty reliever Scott Downs (fractured left big toe) rejoin the club.
However, left-handed starter Scott Kazmir and numerous Angels relievers struggled as the team dropped three of four games in its season-opening series in Kansas City.
Kazmir, who threw 63 pitches in 1-2/3 innings Sunday, will make at least one more start, according to a major league source. But Kazmir, who also is coming off a poor spring, is on “a short leash,” multiple sources say.
The Angels can demote Kazmir only if he agrees to the move — players with five years of service cannot be sent to the minors without their consent. Releasing Kazmir would cost the Angels the remainder of his $12 million salary in 2011, plus his $2.5 million buyout for ’12.
Triple A right-hander Matt Palmer probably is next in line to join the Angels’ rotation, followed by Triple-A righty Trevor Bell. Triple-A righty Tyler Chatwood and Double-A righty Garrett Richards could be options later in the season.
The bullpen would be easier to adjust short-term. Scioscia could simply adjust his relievers’ roles. Among his options: moving righty Jordan Walden into the late innings, using righty Kevin Jepsen earlier in games and expanding the responsibilities of righties Michael Kohn and Rich Thompson.
Angels relievers issued eight walks between the ninth and 13th innings Sunday in a loss to the Royals. The defending American League-champion Texas Rangers, meanwhile, are 3-0 and lead the Angels by 2-1/2 games.
Scioscia will not be inclined to wait long.
— Ken Rosenthal