05/18/11 10:22 PM ET
Scioscia could shake up shaky 'pen
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Entering Wednesday night's game against the Mariners at Safeco Field, the Angels bullpen had logged a 6.06 ERA in May, giving up 33 earned runs in 49 innings, after posting a collective 2.43 ERA in April. The bullpen had allowed 21 earned runs in its last 22 2/3 innings, and Angels relievers led the American League with nine losses and nine blown saves.
Scioscia was asked about the arms in the bullpen, and their roles and where each pitcher stood within that hierarchy. He said Jordan Walden will remain the closer and intimated that Scott Downs will get the majority of the setup innings, but the skipper didn't make any definitive statements beyond that -- just that the bullpen has to perform better as a whole.
"[It's] maybe a little unsettled," Scioscia said. "There are some guys that need to get into their game down there, and they're important to us. We definitely need a guy like Kevin Jepsen to pitch the way he can. He's shown some flashes of it. [The same goes for] Fernando Rodney. And get contributions from Scott Downs and the rest of the guys that will get the ball into our closer's hands.
"Jordan Walden is a power arm that we want to keep at the back end, and we have a lot of confidence that once he gets his feet on the ground he's really going to take off. Getting to him is really an issue of importance for us to get depth in that setup role, whether it be one guy or two guys or three guys."
Scioscia hinted that Downs will be the primary setup man moving forward, but he wouldn't set that in stone either.
Conger enjoys homecoming in Seattle
SEATTLE -- Angels catcher Hank Conger is having a sort of homecoming in his first trip to Seattle as a Major Leaguer.
Conger, after all, was born in nearby Federal Way, Wash., in 1988, and he lived there with his parents and grandparents until his parents moved down to Huntington Beach, Calif. Conger's grandparents still live in Federal Way, and had lunch with their grandson in downtown Seattle prior to Wednesday's game.
"They saw me play [with Triple-A Salt Lake] in Tacoma last year, but this is better," Conger said. "This is the big leagues, and I was a Mariners fan before we moved to California, so it's cool for me, too."
Conger said his grandfather has seen him in a Major League game, but it would be the first time his grandmother got to see him in a big league uniform up close.
"They'll be stoked," said Conger, who added that a few family friends would be at the game, along with a couple of old friends who happen to be Mariners season-ticket holders. Conger said he'll "take peeks here and there" into the stands to see his grandparents on Wednesday night.
"But once the game starts," he said, "I'll be ready to go."
Abreu nearing Gehrig on doubles list
SEATTLE -- Bobby Abreu laughed in disbelief when someone told him that he was only two doubles away from tying Lou Gehrig on Major League Baseball's all-time list.
"When they told me I was like, 'Really? Lou Gehrig? Wow. A legend,'" Abreu said. "It was something nice, so I want to do it."
Abreu, the Angels' veteran designated hitter, has 532 career two-base hits, which puts him behind Todd Helton and Ivan Rodriguez among active players, but two more will match Gehrig's total of 534, which has the Iron Horse at 32nd all time.
Abreu will have to bust out of a recent slump to get it done. Entering Wednesdays' game against the Mariners, he was in a 2-for-19 skid over his last six games, although he had reached base safely in 34 of the 42 games in which he's played this year. He also was a lifetime .301 hitter vs. Seattle, going 74-for-246 against the Mariners in his career prior to Wednesday.
"Everybody knows about Lou Gehrig," Abreu said. "He's one of the best players in the history of the game, so it's pretty cool. I mean, it's Lou Gehrig. To get two doubles, it will be something nice for me in the game."
Entering Wednesday, Angels second baseman Howard Kendrick was tied with Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki with the most multihit games (18) in the American League so far this season. Kendrick was batting .366 (30-for-82) with 16 runs scored in his last 22 games.
Catcher Jeff Mathis, who got the start in Wednesday's contest, had hit in six of his previous seven games to raise his season average from .180 to .200.
Reserve outfielder Reggie Willits is batting .319 (30-for-94) in his career against the Mariners.