ANAHEIM -- While much has been made about the Angels' struggles offensively this season, manager Mike Scioscia also said he's not happy with his club's defense this year either.
Scioscia said the poor defense has been hurting the pitching staff, as he feels that the club's 4.43 ERA, which is ranked fourth to last in the American League, is misleading because too many balls in play aren't being turned into outs.
His assertion has been backed by both traditional defensive metrics and advanced ones, as the club ranks 17th in the Majors in fielding percentage and 25th in Ultimate Zone Rating or UZR, which measures a fielder's success at getting to balls determined to be in his "zone" of the playing field.
"Part of it does rest on the offense, but there are many things that have gone wrong out there on the defensive side which have contributed to where we are," Scioscia said. "If you look at our starting pitchers' ERA it's in the bottom four or five in the league, which is mind-boggling because if you watch them on a daily basis they look they're performing very well. We're not supporting them on the defensive side like we need to."
Kazmir set to throw simulated game
ANAHEIM -- Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir, who is on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder fatigue, is scheduled to pitch a four-inning simulated game on Monday at the Angels' Spring Training complex in Tempe, Ariz.
Kazmir, who already threw bullpen sessions on Wednesday and Saturday, could be on track to rejoin the rotation next weekend in Detroit, according to Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
"He's going to throw four innings or 60 pitches in a simulated environment so that he can get his work in," Scioscia said. "If all's well, he'll go on to Baltimore where we'll evaluate him and possibly start this weekend in Detroit."
Seeking spark, Scioscia gives Willits start
ANAHEIM -- Right fielder Bobby Abreu was given the day off on Sunday with Juan Rivera shifting to right field and Reggie Willits getting the start in left field.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he liked his club's current lineup with Alberto Callaspo batting third and Willits batting ninth because of the situational hitting both players bring to the table.
"This lineup gives us a better chance to create some things when we do get on base and have more options in certain situations," Scioscia said. "Hopefully, it'll be enough to pressure those guys."
But Scioscia also said the offense has been underperforming this season and that he's not afraid to look to the Minor Leagues to bring up players to help the club, such as center-field prospect Peter Bourjos.
"We'll keep moving forward, trying to evaluate this and try to find better options to improve ourselves and we'll continue to do that," Scioscia said. "There are definitely some guys [in the Minors] we're looking at to make us a better team."
Mathis held out for fourth straight game
ANAHEIM -- Angels catcher Jeff Mathis was held out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game because of general soreness he sustained in a collision with the Rangers' Chris Davis last Sunday.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Mathis is still day-to-day and will be further evaluated this week.
"He's feeling a little better," Scioscia said. "Hopefully once he gets his treatment he'll be able to swing the bat."
Bobby Wilson, who is batting .222 with two homers and seven RBIs, started at catcher for the 17th time this season.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.