05/06/12 10:38 PM ET
Frieri shows stuff to pitch in late innings
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
"He's exactly as billed," manager Mike Scioscia said after watching Frieri strike out the side in Saturday's 6-2 win. "He's got a really live arm, he has deception, the ball's sneaky. He got a fastball by some pretty good fastball hitters last night."
The 26-year-old may be counted on even more now, with the Angels potentially losing Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins in Sunday's ninth inning.
Frieri pitched in a setup role during Sunday's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays, hurling a scoreless eighth thanks in part to a critical double play. The righty entered the top of the eighth with a one-run lead and promptly walked Adam Lind. After Rajai Davis replaced Lind at first base, Frieri got some help from shortstop Erick Aybar, who screened Davis -- running on the play -- on Edwin Encarnacion's popup back to Frieri. After the hurler made the catch, he fired to first base for a double play, then whiffed Brett Lawrie to end the inning.
In the ninth, Downs hurt his left knee while ducking out of the way of a comebacker and Hawkins fractured his right pinkie while making the catch on a game-ending double play.
Their status remains unclear, but if either of them misses time, Frieri's role could become even more important.
Asked pregame if the righty can eventually handle the ninth inning, Scioscia said: "It just depends on where our bullpen settles, but I don't think there's any doubt in the world that what he showed last night plays anywhere in the last nine outs of the game."
Bourjos battling to break into crowded outfield
ANAHEIM -- Peter Bourjos sat once again on Sunday afternoon, marking the seventh time he has been on the bench in the last eight games.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday that the speedy center fielder would rejoin the lineup for the series finale against the Blue Jays, but he ultimately went with Vernon Wells, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo in his outfield -- a trio that combined to reach base eight times in the previous night's 6-2 win.
Bourjos, Scioscia said, should play plenty in Minnesota, where the Angels would benefit from his defense in Target Field's expansive outfield. But nonetheless, it's becoming increasingly difficult to get Bourjos in there.
"We're going to get Peter in the lineup," Scioscia continued to stress. "This week, there were some things that we were looking at. We didn't get Peter in as much as we want, but we're going to get him in there. He's got to play to contribute, and he will."
Bourjos, seemingly left without even a semi-regular role now that Trout is up, began Sunday batting .180 with 15 strikeouts and four walks in 57 plate appearances -- including two hits in his previous 25 at-bats. But it's hard to get going when you're simply not playing.
"It's an adjustment," Bourjos said recently. "The main thing is I have to stay within myself and not try to do too much when I am in there. Just play my game."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia anticipates -- though he didn't exactly sound certain -- keeping his rotation on schedule this week, regardless of Thursday's off-day. That would mean former Rangers starter C.J. Wilson would get the nod for the series opener in Texas on Friday, against new Rangers starter Yu Darvish.
Angels catcher Chris Iannetta returned to the lineup Sunday after missing the previous three games with soreness in his right hand/wrist area. He was hitless in three at-bats.
Wednesday's game against the Twins will now be aired on KCOP-TV (13).
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.