08/11/12 3:10 AM ET
Angels look to gain ground on pivotal homestand
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
The Angels can at least take comfort in a few things ...
Divisional deficits of this size with that little time left have been overcome before, most recently by a 2009 Twins team that trailed the Tigers by seven with 26 left and ultimately beat them in a one-game playoff.
The Angels will be home for the next 10 games.
After playing 42 of their past 45 games against teams with winning records at the time their series began, the Angels' first six games will come against the Mariners and Indians, two clubs that are a combined 19 games below .500, before finishing with four against the Rays.
"There's no sense of urgency," catcher Chris Iannetta said, "I just think we need to win, if that makes sense."
It does, because if the Angels -- also a game back of the final Wild Card spot and 1 1/2 behind the A's in the AL West -- are going to make up some valuable ground, this would be a very good time to do it.
But "one game at a time" is the company line here, starting with a Friday night matchup against the dominant Felix Hernandez.
Is it hard to maintain that day-to-day focus considering where they reside in the standings?
"No, because we're not looking at that," Iannetta said. "Other people are looking at that, not us. We're looking at the game at hand. We actually believe some of the things that we say. When we say we're taking it one game at a time and we're focusing one day at a time, that's what we've trained ourselves to do."
Downs eager to return from DL but no timetable set
ANAHEIM -- The Angels need Scott Downs now more than ever, considering the just-completed 10-game road trip that witnessed their bullpen post a 10.54 ERA with five losses and five blown saves. And Downs badly wants to join them. But his strained left shoulder still hasn't recovered enough for him to get back on a mound, and he'd rather take the safe route than rush it and risk a setback.
Times like these, though, it's not easy being prudent.
"It's tough to watch," Downs said. "Any time you have to sit back and watch and can't do anything to help, it's not easy, whether we're winning or losing. You want to be out there, you want to help the team as much as you can. We have a good bullpen, we have a good team, and we'll bounce back."
But it's tough to bounce back without Downs, the sage lefty who posted a 1.34 ERA in 53 2/3 innings last year and is a crucial complement to righty Ernesto Frieri in the very back of this year's bullpen.
At least the return of hard-throwing righty Jordan Walden appears to be more certain. Walden, out since July 8 with an ailing neck and right bicep, is set to pitch in rehab games for Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday and Monday, and he could return to the team shortly thereafter.
Downs, out since July 27, has backed his long-toss regimen up to 150 feet and says he isn't experiencing any unusual soreness but still doesn't know when he'll begin throwing bullpen sessions again. He thinks it might happen within a week.
"That's what I'm hoping," said Downs, who has a 2.57 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP despite some uncommon second-half struggles. "We'll see what the doctors say and what the trainers say, and we'll kind of go from there. I'm optimistic, but then again, they're not going to let me be dumb and try to rush, and I don't want to rush and have a setback. We're doing what we can to get back as soon as we can."
Downs, who hasn't had shoulder issues since college, doesn't believe his current injury will require offseason surgery and is confident he can be as effective as he's always been upon returning.
"I don't see any reoccurring issues that are going to pop up," he said. "As long as I don't rush it and try to do anything I'm not supposed to be doing to get back any faster."
"If anything," manager Mike Scioscia added, "a refresher will give him a chance to come back and contribute the way we know he can."
Geltz gets call from Minors; Carpenter sent down
ANAHEIM -- The Angels optioned right-handed reliever David Carpenter after Friday's 6-5 win over the Mariners, with a source confirming that righty Steven Geltz is coming up from the Minors to fill the vacancy on the roster.
Geltz, 24, is getting his first big league callup after posting a 2.09 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP and a 4.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 51 2/3 innings for Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Salt Lake this year.
A native of New York, Geltz -- listed at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds -- has been with the organization since 2008, compiling a 3.51 ERA in 165 appearances in the Angels' farm system. He posted a 0.36 ERA in 21 games in the Texas League, then a 3.76 ERA in 19 appearances in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Carpenter has been up and down all year, compiling a 4.76 ERA in 28 appearances while serving mostly as a long reliever.
Criticism pushes B. Wilson to give up Twitter
ANAHEIM -- Bobby Wilson is done with Twitter.
He gave it a shot, tried, like many athletes, to use it as a tool to interact with fans, but the vitriol that came with it was ultimately too much for the Angels' backup catcher to stomach. On Thursday, Wilson decided it just wasn't worth dealing with anymore, so he posted the following message on his now-deleted account, @BW46 --
I'm done with twitter. Try to be fan friendly and all I get is criticism. I wasn't blessed with 5 tools. I worked hard to get here.
Asked about it Friday, Wilson didn't want to get into detail about what ultimately set him off. But he indicated that fans were taking shots at his personal life and wanted to stop tweeting before writing things that could hurt his career or his standing with the team.
"For the people that were fans and were nice, I feel bad, because those were the people that were affected because I know myself, as a fan of football and basketball, I like to hear what those guys have to say and how their interactions are," Wilson said.
"But sometimes [they] just cross the line a little too much, and when it gets personal and when it gets to family, I don't need to hear it. People don't know my situation growing up, so to attack somebody based on what I do professionally, I don't think it's right, honestly. I understand that's the world we live in, but at the same time, I don't have to take it at home. I take enough of it at the ballpark. It's just a shame for the good people, that were fans and that were good about it."
Angels set for 'Anniversary Week' honoring '02 champs
ANAHEIM -- Next week, the Angels will honor the 10th anniversary of their lone championship season with a host of activities, including honorary first pitches, special promotions, giveaways and autograph signings.
The highlight will come Saturday, Aug. 18, when 25-plus members of the 2002 team will be honored in a pregame ceremony -- featuring speeches from Mike Scioscia and Tim Salmon -- before getting inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame.
Each returning player will don their 2002 Angels jerseys, which they'll then autograph and sell at auction, with proceeds benefiting the Angels Baseball Foundation.
Former closer Troy Percival will throw out the first pitch Tuesday, followed by outfielder Garret Anderson on Wednesday, first baseman Scott Spiezio on Thursday, World Series MVP Troy Glaus on Friday and ex-general manager Bill Stoneman on Saturday.
On Thursday and Friday, Spiezio and Glaus will hold an autograph signing outside the team store -- beginning at first pitch and lasting about an hour -- for fans who have purchased the "Under the Halo" history book.
The giveaways for "Anniversary Week" include: A 10th anniversary World Series ring figurine (Tuesday), 10th anniversary World Series poster (Wednesday), Angels pitcher-and-cups set (Thursday), Thunderstix (Friday) and a C.J. Wilson backpack for kids ages 2-14 (Saturday).
The following former players are tentatively scheduled to attend the festivities: Anderson, Clay Bellinger, Mickey Callaway, Jeff DaVanon, Brendan Donnelly, David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, Brad Fullmer, Benji Gil, Glaus, Al Levine, Mark Lukasiewicz, Bengie Molina, Jose Molina (currently with the Rays), Jose Nieves, Orlando Palmeiro, Percival, Lou Pote, Salmon, Scot Shields, Scott Schoeneweis, Aaron Sele, Spiezio, Jarrod Washburn, Ben Weber, Matt Wise and Shawn Wooten.
Former bullpen coach Orlando Mercado is also slated to be on hand, along with ex-bench coach Joe Maddon, whose Rays will be in town Thursday to Sunday. Recently dismissed hitting coach Mickey Hatcher is not expected to attend.
The Angels, in conjunction with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and Chevrolet, will host an equipment collection drive on Saturday. New and used equipment donated by fans will benefit the East Anaheim Little League. In addition, BTF will award a grant of $3,000 to East Anaheim Little League and $2,000 to the Orange County Lionettes for the purchase of new equipment. Chevrolet will grant $2,500 to each.
Curtis Pride, the former outfielder who spent the last three of his 11 big league seasons with the Angels, was named by President Obama to be part of the Presidential Delegation attending Sunday's Olympics closing ceremony in London. Pride, now the baseball coach at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., is a member of Obama's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
The Angels and Bloomberg Sports, a leader in sports-analytic technology, have established a partnership to "design a state-of-the-art player-evaluation system" for the baseball-operations staff in 2013, according to a news release. The new system, the release stated, "will combine video with extensive data on all professional players, as well as customized and enhanced technology to assist the evaluation process."
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.