7/31/2013 9:25 P.M. ET
Scioscia to lighten Frieri's load in ninth inning
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Ernesto Frieri struggled in his past three appearances, and now the Angels will essentially go with a closer by committee. But as Mike Scioscia emphasized prior to Wednesday's series finale from Rangers Ballpark: "He's got to be part of the closing solution that we have."
Scioscia could go to Nick Maronde -- his only lefty, with Scott Downs traded and Sean Burnett out for the year -- against left-handed hitters in the ninth, and perhaps use the likes of Dane De La Rosa, Kevin Jepsen and Michael Kohn if the numbers are in their favor.
"How we take some of the burden off [Frieri] getting the last couple outs could change on a given night," Scioscia said, "but Ernie is part of the solution."
Frieri is coming off back-to-back blown saves, giving up two ninth-inning solo homers in Monday's walk-off loss -- to A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto -- and surrendering a two-out, game-tying single to Adrian Beltre in Tuesday's 14-11 defeat in 10 innings.
Over his last three outings, Frieri has retired only six of the 20 batters he's faced, his ERA climbing to 4.20.
Asked Tuesday night about having to share the ninth inning, the 28-year-old right-hander said: "Whatever decision they make, I have to accept that. We need to win. We can't be losing games late. Hopefully I get through this and they give me the confidence again."
Angels shut down Burnett for season
ARLINGTON -- Sean Burnett tried to ramp it up to game intensity in his latest bullpen session on Monday and his arm "still felt a little funny." An MRI on Tuesday revealed that the Angels' newly acquired left-handed reliever had a small tear in his left flexor tendon, and he will be shut down for the remainder of the season.
Burnett still hasn't definitively decided on how to treat it, but a surgical procedure -- one Burnett deemed minor, which he expects will have him ready for the start of Spring Training -- seems like the most likely next step.
"I got a little emotional after the bullpen the other day," Burnett said Wednesday. "I'm frustrated. It's been a few months right now. I come to a new team, trying to just fit in and help the team win, and I haven't been able to do much."
Burnett and Ryan Madson were the two big offseason bullpen additions; the ones who would play a big part in turning the Angels' biggest weakness of 2012 into a strength. And neither has been able to do much.
Burnett, in the first season of a two-year, $8 million contract that includes a team option for 2015, appeared in 13 games this season and last pitched on May 26. Madson, rehabbing in Arizona, has made no progress in his return from Tommy John surgery nearly 16 months ago.
"It continues to be slow," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said of Madson. "He's been on and off, throwing the ball aggressively and well at times, and at others, [he] needs extended breaks to get back where he needs to be. It's been a frustrating process for him, it's been a long one for everyone involved."
From 2008-12, Burnett averaged 67 appearances per season, compiling a 3.22 ERA without making a single appearance on the disabled list.
This year, following an offseason in which he removed two bone spurs from his left elbow, Burnett was on the DL from April 28 to May 21 with left forearm irritation, then landed on the DL again on May 28 with what the team called a left elbow impingement. By mid-June, he wasn't progressing, so he visited Dr. James Andrews, who performed his Tommy John surgery in '04, and was told to shut it down for a month and see how his arm responds.
Burnett did, then progressed to throwing bullpens recently but could never get to a point where he was pitching at full intensity. Since the tear is small, Burnett had no problem playing catch but would suffer flare-ups if he tried to simulate game action.
Two alternative options to surgery are either injections or rest and rehab, but as the 30-year-old Burnett said: "I've kind of already tried both of those.
"I'll probably sit down with Dr. Andrews next week. If he can tell me surgery is the best option, which it sounds like it might be, I'll go in and do that."
Kendrick happy to reach 1,000 hits with Angels
ARLINGTON -- Howie Kendrick got his 1,000th career hit on Tuesday night, and he'll have an opportunity to add to that in an Angels uniform.
The homegrown second baseman was linked to several teams leading up to Wednesday's 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline, with the Angels' front office hoping to use him in an effort to acquire cost-controlled starting pitching.
But when the Deadline came and went, the Angels didn't have a deal in place and Kendrick had stayed put.
His eighth-inning two-run single, which made him the ninth player in franchise history to reach the 1,000-hit milestone, won't be his last.
"I love it here, man," Kendrick said. "I'd be the last guy to tell you I was looking forward to getting traded. This is where I grew up at and it's always going to be a special place for me. I've enjoyed my time here and I love being here. It's been a great organization to me. If I would've gotten traded, I know it's for a reason. At the same time, I'm happy to still be here, too, because a lot of the guys here are great players and they're a lot of my friends, too."
Kendrick, who entered Wednesday with a .301/.344/.446 slash line, reached 1,000 hits in his 904th game, making him the fifth-fastest in Angels history to reach the milestone -- behind only Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad, Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero.
When he reached first base, he hollered at hitting coach Jim Eppard to make sure he saved the baseball. Soon, it'll go in the game room of his house in Phoenix, which is filled with autographed jerseys and other personal milestones.
"Man I'm so happy to be able to reach that milestone in this uniform, because I've been here," Kendrick said. "I came up through the organization that drafted me, and to be able to get 1,000 hits here and be here for the time I have been, that's special."
• Chris Nelson, called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday, is expected to get the first crack at playing third base every day for the rest of the season, though the newly acquired Grant Green and prospect Luis Jimenez -- expected back from a shoulder injury in two weeks -- could be options down the road.
• Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto shot down the notion that Mark Trumbo can be an option at third base again next season, saying he will once again play first base and the corner-outfield spots, with designated hitter being another option.
• Angels manager Mike Scioscia held a team meeting prior to Wednesday's series finale, with his team on the heels of five consecutive losses. Scioscia doesn't believe a lack of focus has been the issue, saying: "We had a couple leads we lost late. We didn't do some things we needed to do, not because of lack of focus or lack of effort. Absolutely not."
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.