07/31/12 9:49 PM ET
Despite historic night, Morales not in lineup
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
And it wasn't in the Angels' starting lineup.
Despite Morales' magical sixth inning in Monday's 15-8 drubbing, Angels manager Mike Scioscia stuck with what he's done for most of the season, sitting Morales against a left-handed starter to get the right-handed bats of Vernon Wells or Peter Bourjos in the lineup.
Morales wants to get a chance to play every day and find rhythm, but isn't getting it.
"I'm not surprised; they've been doing it all year," a solemn Morales said in Spanish. "I'm not sure what's happening, but there's nothing you can do."
It's not like Morales is on a tear, per se. Before hitting a two-run homer off righty Roy Oswalt and a grand slam off lefty Robbie Ross in the sixth, he had just three hits in his last 28 at-bats, with 14 strikeouts.
Scioscia believes Morales has been swinging the bat a lot better from the right side, but he also believes that continuing to give Morales a day off against a lefty will benefit him in the long run, and overrides any potential momentum.
"There are going to be times obviously when Kendrys will hit against left-handed pitching," said Scioscia, who went with Wells in left field and Mark Trumbo at designated hitter against lefty Derek Holland. "But I think right now, we're certainly going to keep him fresh. It's almost like a natural break you can get at times against some lefties."
Stalwart Downs lost to DL, and Takahashi returns
ARLINGTON -- Scott Downs felt some pain in his left shoulder during his most recent outing on Friday, and a Tuesday morning MRI revealed it to be a strain. Now, the Angels will be without one of their most important relievers for at least two weeks, probably more.
"Last couple days I've been trying to throw and get through it, but it didn't loosen up," said Downs, placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and eligible to be activated no sooner than Aug. 13. "I couldn't get it extended, and it's kind of one of those deals where you kind of have to suck it up and do what's best for yourself, do what's best for your team and get a fresh arm up here."
That fresh arm is lefty Hisanori Takahashi, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake three days after being sent down.
Downs, who hasn't had shoulder issues since labrum surgery as a college freshman in 1995, isn't sure how long he'll be out or what the initial rehab plans will consist of.
"I'm hoping it's a two-week deal, but we'll see," Downs said. "We'll do what we can, as usual, to get back as fast as we can."
"I think we're comfortable with the fact that it's not going to be anything that's going to push him back too far, but it's probably something that's going to need a couple of weeks to settle down," Angels manager Mike Scioscia added. "We're going to take it one step at a time. Right now it's a very minor issue and we want to keep it that way."
Downs has been one of the most consistent Angels relievers all year -- and last year, too -- but has struggled a bit recently. He gave up just one run in 30 innings in the first half, but has surrendered nine of them, on nine hits and six walks, in five innings since the All-Star break.
The 36-year-old lefty, who has dodged two prior trips to the DL this season, doesn't believe his current injury had anything to do with his recent struggles.
"There's no excuses for what happened the last couple of weeks," he said. "It's baseball."
Without Downs, their crucial lefty complement to righty Ernesto Frieri in the late innings, the Angels suddenly need guys such as right-handers Kevin Jepsen, LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen to play bigger roles, especially since no reliever was added before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Frieri (.494 OPS) and Hawkins (.453) have been good against opposing lefty hitters; Isringhausen (.714) and Jepsen (.708) have not. Takahashi, with a 4.37 ERA in 35 innings, is expected to remain in more of a long-relief role.
"We'll lose matching up later in the games, turning a guy around, neutralizing power," Scioscia said. "There's a lot of things that Scott brought from a left-handed perspective that we might not be able to do. But there's no doubt the arms we have are good and hopefully are going to hold leads as good as we've been."
Ailing Haren to be replaced by Richards on Wednesday
ARLINGTON -- Dan Haren, nursing stiffness in his right side, won't make his scheduled Wednesday start against the Rangers, after all. Instead, he'll be pushed back to Sunday, for the series finale against the White Sox, with Garrett Richards starting on Wednesday instead.
Haren didn't throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, but long-tossed and threw pain free for the first time since suffering the injury. The 31-year-old right-hander says the current issue is unrelated to the stiff lower back that landed him on the disabled list in early July and may simply be a product of bad mechanics.
"This wasn't as frustrating as it was before, just because of what the doctors have told me," Haren said. "Right when I did it, they said it was normal for something like this to pop up. Getting that little bit of extra extension, I'm going to pull on things that I haven't been working on for the last couple of months. I got into bad habits mechanically, like I told you guys after my first start, my second start, I told you I was mechanically out of whack. That could've kind of played a part in it. I think I'm kind of lucky that I dodged anything bigger. Avoiding the DL is always a good thing."
Haren is 8-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 19 starts this year, but has given up only three runs in 12 innings since coming off his first ever DL stint. Shortly after giving up one run in six-plus innings in a win over the Rays on Friday, Haren thought the pain in his right side would land him back on the shelf.
But "every day, we've done a little bit more than we thought we were going to do, so that's a good thing," Haren said.
Richards will match up against Yu Darvish on Wednesday, with C.J. Wilson facing newcomer Ryan Dempster in Thursday's series finale against the Rangers. Then, against the White Sox, it'll be Zack Greinke on Friday, Ervin Santana on Saturday and Haren on Sunday, which could then buy the other starters an extra day of rest.
Richards, with a 3.91 ERA in 48 1/3 innings this year, will be on seven days' rest and will be making his first start at Rangers Ballpark.
"I'm going to go out and I'm going to pitch my game," said Richards, who has a 1.59 ERA in 5 2/3 career innings against Texas. "I'm going to attack guys; I'm going to pitch in and get ahead early."
Deadline passes, Bourjos still an Angel
ARLINGTON -- Shortly after acquiring Zack Greinke from the Brewers for three prospects on Friday, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto found Peter Bourjos near the batting cage, patted him on the back and said, "See, I told you I wasn't going to trade you."
The conversation didn't last much longer than that. It was Bourjos' turn to hit.
"I just said, 'I'm happy here,' " Bourjos recalled, "'and hopefully this is going to be where I play my whole career.'"
For now, he'll settle for the next two months.
Bourjos has been floated around in rumors for most of his short Major League career. But this year, because Mike Trout had assumed the everyday role in center field and Bourjos has been confined to the bench, it was perhaps more prominent than ever. And with the Angels pursuing a starting pitcher, and sporting a pretty barren farm system, the belief was that Dipoto would have to include Bourjos in a deal to acquire a frontline guy.
But the Angels were able to get Greinke by giving up shortstop Jean Segura and two Double-A starters, John Hellweg and Ariel Pena. At that point, Bourjos figured he was safe.
But at 3 p.m. CT here on Tuesday, when MLB Network monitors showed the Trade Deadline countdown at "0," several of Bourjos' teammates gave him a mock standing ovation anyway.
"I'll probably still sleep the same," Bourjos said. "I think just during the day, my phone won't be blowing up like it usually is, with my buddies texting me, 'What's going on?' "
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read 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.