ANAHEIM -- Word reached the Angels before Friday night's game against the Red Sox that Brandon Wood, once viewed as one of the game's future stars, was claimed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Wood was designated for assignment by the Angels on Tuesday in order to activate shortstop Erick Aybar. Wood appeared in six games this year -- the Angels were 4-0 when he started at shortstop -- but he once again was struggling in his few opportunities at the plate, batting .143.
"It's a terrific opportunity for him," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a young club hopefully making strides, getting better. To not have the pressure he had here ... he needs to play baseball. I think it's a terrific place for him to be right now, and [I] hope he makes the most of his opportunity."
His Angels teammates were emotional when they learned in Texas that Wood would be departing.
"He's been a brother to a lot of us," catcher Bobby Wilson said. "Woody's a great guy, as good a friend and teammate as you could have. I wish him all the best, and I know all the other guys do, too."
Longtime Minor League teammate Reggie Willits is sold on Wood's talents and commitment.
"He's one of my best friends, so naturally I'm pulling for him, but I've seen what Woody can do," Willits said. "We played together all through the Minors, and I'm convinced he has the skill set to be an everyday player in the Major Leagues."
Bell glad to be back in Angels' bullpen mix
ANAHEIM -- With left-hander Scott Downs returning to the 15-day disabled list on Friday with a gastrointestinal virus, right-hander Trevor Bell was summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake to add a middle relief presence to the Angels' bullpen.
Bell threw seven innings in his most recent Pacific Coast League start on Tuesday, dropping a 4-0 decision to Las Vegas. His command was a plus, evidenced by one walk against seven strikeouts. He yielded four earned runs on six hits.
"The first six [innings] I was going great," Bell said. "Then I missed a couple of pitches, and they put it up in that Vegas air."
Bell experienced an impingement in his right shoulder that set him back in Spring Training, but he is fully recovered and delighted to be back with the big club. Bell is 3-7 with a 5.98 ERA in 33 Major League appearances, 11 as a starter, but he improved last year, going 2-5 with a 4.72 ERA in 25 outings, seven as a starter.
"It's fun going from starting to the bullpen -- more so than the other way," Bell said. "It's a little easier when you're already stretched out. I've done it the past two years."
Bell has been keeping tabs on the Angels and his buddies on the pitching staff.
"I've been watching every day," he said. "We all watch every day. It's huge what the bullpen has done. You watch what [Jered] Weaver and [Dan] Haren are doing and it kind of overshadows what the bullpen has done."
After giving up 11 earned runs in their first 18 1/3 innings for a 5.40 ERA, the relief corps has forged a 1.55 ERA in its last 40 2/3 innings, yielding just seven earned runs.
"Keeping the walks down, getting ahead [in counts] and putting together quality pitches," Bell said when asked to identify the ingredients in a good bullpen. "It looks like they're being aggressive and staying aggressive, going after guys. That's the approach I'm taking, for sure."
Stomach virus send Downs back to disabled list
ANAHEIM -- Scott Downs' Angels experience has been far from heavenly so far.
The southpaw setup man made his second trip to the 15-day disabled list on Friday, this time with a gastrointestinal virus that has sapped him since a few days after he came off the DL on April 11.
One of the game's most respected setup men in Toronto since 2006, he began the season inactive while recovering from a broken bone in his left big toe suffered during Spring Training while playing with his kids.
Downs last pitched on April 13, making his DL assignment retroactive to April 14. He hasn't given up a run in 1 2/3 innings.
"It's just taken him a while to shake this," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's lost a lot of weight -- nine or 10 pounds. If you do the math, he's probably going to need three or four days to get where he needs to be. This gives him time to where he's feeling good."
Pineiro eyes return to Angels next weekend
ANAHEIM -- His right shoulder healed, Joel Pineiro's ache now is confined to his desire to get back in the Angels' rotation.
"I'm back to normal," Pineiro said, having thrown three innings and 45 pitches in an Arizona camp game on Wednesday in anticipation of a Minor League rehab start on Monday for Class A Inland Empire. "I'm looking to go five [innings] and 70 [pitches], which would be what I need to get to 85 or 90 [pitches] when I come back."
With an off-day on Thursday, Pineiro could be slotted in for a start on April 30 vs. the Rays in St. Petersburg.
"I'm back on my normal schedule," Pineiro said. "I've been watching these guys and I want to be part of it. These guys are pitching and playing great."
Pineiro, 32, was having an impressive spring -- 2-0, 3.46 ERA in 13 innings -- when he felt the back muscle near the lattisimus dorsi tighten on March 20 after throwing two innings against the Cubs in a Mesa, Ariz., spring camp game.
"I felt great the next day, but two days after that, I aggravated it throwing," he said. "I probably should have taken a little more time off to be sure. I've had some ups and downs with it, but it's normal now. I'm ready to go."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.