05/16/2013 9:17 PM ET
Patience helps Iannetta break out of slump
By William Boor / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Angels catcher Chris Iannetta has struggled at the plate recently, but believes a more patient approach can get him back on track.
"Obviously, these last two to three weeks, I've been struggling hitting-wise, so I've kind of gotten back to a basic approach -- drawing walks, getting on base," Iannetta said. "I may not necessarily be getting a hit every game, but I'm trying to get on base as many times as I can."
After hitting his third home run of the season on April 27, Iannetta went into an 0-for-21 slump before a four-walk game on May 9 started to turn things in the right direction.
"I was getting myself out by swinging at too many pitches out of the zone, especially on the inner half of the plate, so I got back to really just making sure I was swinging at strikes and pitches over the plate," Iannetta said. "When I was doing that, the walks started increasing because I was watching pitches out of the zone where the week before I was chasing those pitches."
It appears to be working as Iannetta currently has a team-high 20 walks compared to 19 hits.
In the past seven days, Iannetta walked seven times and raised his on-base percentage, which dropped to as low as .279 during his slump, to .325.
"I think that's something I've done my whole career from the walks standpoint," Iannetta said. "It's just part of my game as a hitter."
While Iannetta has ben able to draw walks in the past, he is currently on pace for 70 walks this season -- which would tie his career high, set in 2011 as a member of the Rockies.
The 30-year old catcher still has work to do to get his numbers where he wants them, but he feels it will come sooner rather than later.
"I'm definitely going in the right direction," Iannetta said. "I'm still not swinging the bat the way I'd like and the way I'd be happy with, but I'm going in the right direction."
Angels call up pitchers Brasier, Buckner
ANAHEIM -- The revolving door in the Angels bullpen just keeps spinning.
Prior to Thursday's game against the White Sox, the Angels designated Barry Enright for assignment, optioned Michael Roth and brought Ryan Brasier and Billy Buckner to the Major League club.
"I think just to get some fresh arms here is important," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Our roster is definitely a living organism right now. It keeps moving, it keeps rotating."
When Buckner appears in a game, he will be the 21st pitcher the Angels have used this season. Buckner has not appeared in a Major League game since he pitched with the D-backs in 2010 and was not on the club's 40-man roster to begin 2013.
In eight starts with Triple-A Salt Lake, Buckner compiled a 4-2 record with a 4.56 ERA.
"I thought I was pitching well," Buckner said. "Got a lot of ground balls, a lot of strikeouts, pitching to contact, trying to stay aggressive. When things are going well, I'm being aggressive."
Brasier had a brief appearance with the Angels earlier this season and allowed two runs in two innings of work.
Although Roth threw two scoreless innings in his last appearance, he had an ERA of 9.00 over 14 innings during his two stints with the Angels this season.
Enright took the loss Monday as he struggled with walks. Enright made four appearances with the Angels, had an 12.996 ERA and failed to pitch into the fourth in either of his two starts.
Scioscia, Iannetta juggling influx of pitchers
ANAHEIM -- As the Angels continue to nurse injuries while shuffling pitchers in and out of the bullpen, manager Mike Scioscia has had to juggle a lot of moving parts.
It is only mid-May, but the Angels have already used 20 pitchers and No. 21 -- right-hander Billy Bucker -- was called up on Thursday.
"The toughest thing is when the parts aren't working," Scioscia said. "If you're managing parts and you have options and guys are doing their job, it becomes functional and you can actually set some things up whether it's in your lineup, the defensive side, the pitching side, whatever it may be."
While Scioscia has had the task of trying to patchwork a bullpen through injuries -- Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett and Kevin Jepsen are on the disabled list -- and players who simply have not performed to expectations, catcher Chris Iannetta has had a challenging task as well.
Establishing a strong pitcher-catcher relationship is not something that happens overnight, but with new faces constantly emerging in the clubhouse and bullpen, they have had to make it work.
Fortunately for the Angels, Iannetta was able to establish at least brief connections with most of the younger pitchers during Spring Training, so the past few weeks have not been as daunting as one might expect.
"The relationship stuff hasn't been bad," Iannetta said. "We've seen these guys in Spring Training. You start building the relationships then. We've all played a long time, we're extremely professional. We know what needs to be done on the working relationship side. That's been pretty seamless."
• Because the Angels have an off-day on Monday, they will skip the fifth spot in the rotation. With Enright sent down and Tommy Hanson still on the restricted list, the Angels have not named a fifth starter.
• Sean Burnett threw a bullpen session on Thursday and appears to be nearing a return.
"If it's not for this series, the next series we hope," Scioscia said.
A brief rehab appearance remains a possibility for Burnett.
• Kevin Jepsen also threw a bullpen session on Thursday and may only need to throw one more before heading out on a rehab assignment.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.