Angels roll out Division Series roster
Righty Jepsen chosen over Speier; starters as expected
ANAHEIM -- There were no major surprises and just one major disappointment when manager Mike Scioscia unveiled his 25-man roster for the American League Division Series against Boston starting Wednesday at Angel Stadium.
Veteran right-hander Justin Speier was left off the roster in favor of rookie right-hander Kevin Jepsen. The Angels will carry 10 pitchers and 15 position players, with Brandon Wood making the roster but Sean Rodriguez, who also performed effectively down the stretch, not making the cut.
Scioscia also made it official that John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders will start Games 1, 2 and 3, respectively. If there's a Game 4, it will belong to Lackey, with Santana getting the nod in a decisive Game 5, if necessary.
Jepsen, a Team USA standout in the Beijing Olympics, impressed the Angels with his power and command in nine appearances, going 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA. Speier, in 62 appearances, had a 2-8 record and 5.03 ERA. The long ball was his undoing, as he yielded 15 homers in 68 innings.
It was a difficult decision for Scioscia because of the experience and leadership Speier brings to the club, but it came down to numbers and Speier has admittedly struggled this season.Certainly, Speier's 2008 season was a far cry from an impressive 2007 campaign, where he had a 2.88 ERA over 51 games in a setup role in the bullpen. "We have a special team here, and I think I'm a part of it," said Speier, who will still travel with the team. "I'm going to work out and get ready to be a positive influence on the guys here."
Meanwhile, Jered Weaver and Jon Garland -- starters all season -- will move to the bullpen for potential assignments, likely for use in either long relief or extra innings. They'll join Jepsen, fellow rookie Jose Arredondo, and veterans Darren Oliver, Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez.
Howie Kendrick showed enough movement in the final week in his recovery from a left hamstring strain to get the nod at second base. He joins Erick Aybar, Chone Figgins and Mark Teixeira in the infield. Wood, Kendry Morales and Robb Quinlan will provide depth.
Garret Anderson, Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Rivera and Reggie Willits will provide depth in the outfield, with the designated hitter coming from that group.
Sizzling Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis will share the catching duties, as usual.
Teams can alter their rosters from series to series, so Scioscia and his staff will have an opportunity to add and subtract if they get past the Red Sox and move on to the AL Championship Series.
A three-man taxi squad will travel with the club, formed by Speier, Sean Rodriguez and catcher Bobby Wilson.
But the news of the day was putting Jepsen in the mix.
"I just think right now, Kevin Jepsen brings a power arm with good stuff," Scioscia said. "He's throwing the ball well. There's still a possible role with Justin, but Kevin has the type of arm that could grow as you go into the playoffs."It's easy to compare Scioscia's decision to include Jepsen to his decision to carry another hard-throwing rookie in 2002 by the name of Francisco Rodriguez. But Scioscia was cautious to compare Jepsen to Rodriguez, who took the league by surprise by winning five postseason games to help carry the Angels to the 2002 World Series title. "I think it's unfair to compare anything to what Frankie did in 2002, but I think there are some similarities with the power arm and a guy that hasn't got a lot of exposure," Scioscia said. Jepsen, who said he was "ecstatic" about making the roster, said he hopes his experience in the Olympics readies him for the postseason atmosphere. "It definitely doesn't hurt to have that experience," the 24-year-old reliever said. "The more experience you have in a situation like that helps." Dustin Moseley, Shane Loux and Jason Bulger dispatched to the Arizona instructional league to get in some work just in case they're needed down the road.
Also, reliever Darren O'Day has been shut down to recover from a labrum tear in his right shoulder, which was discovered in an MRI by Dr. Lewis Yocum.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.