8/3/2013 9:27 P.M. ET
Frieri regains poise with save against Blue Jays
By William Boor / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The Angels began the week losing three games in walk-off fashion to the Rangers, and while the losses were hard on everyone, they were especially rough on closer Ernesto Frieri.
In the three-game set, Frieri blew two saves and allowed three runs over a combined 1 1/3 innings.
This, coupled with an outing in which he gave up five runs in one-third of an inning to the Twins, prompted manager Mike Scioscia to say the Angels would "match up" in the ninth inning.
However, with a 7-5 lead in the ninth inning Friday, Scioscia called on Frieri, and the closer answered the call with his 26th save of the season.
"He got his confidence back, which is nice," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "It shows a lot of his character and what he's made of, to go through what he went through, then come back and nail it down for us."
Frieri never had any doubt.
"I knew that it was going to happen," Frieri said. "I knew I was going to go back to the Ernie that everybody knows. I just need to keep doing what I did last night, making pitches. Whenever I do that, I'm going to get people out."
Frieri struck out the side, working around a one-out double to Brett Lawrie, and regained his old mentality in the process.
"The first hitter I was trying to focus on just hitting my spot, not missing it," Frieri said. "And then I was like, 'Wait, wait this is not me, stop thinking so much and let it go.' After that, you could see I was a little more aggressive, and that's me."
Hanson working to limit opponents' running game
ANAHEIM -- Stolen bases are often blamed on the catcher, but it is rarely that simple.
Before the catcher has a chance to fire a strike to either second or third base, the pitcher needs to deliver the ball in a timely fashion.
Stolen bases have hampered Tommy Hanson throughout his career, and entering Friday's contest, opponents were 15-for-16 when the right-hander was on the mound.
However, Hanson has made some recent adjustments, and they were evident in Friday's results.
"Tommy's getting comfortable with some adjustments," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's had issues his whole career just trying to control the running game, but yesterday was indicative of a guy working hard and figuring it out."
And catcher Chris Iannetta capitalized on that opportunity Friday.
In the Angels 7-5 victory over the Blue Jays, Iannetta threw out a trio of runners trying to steal second base.
"He put a lot of work in and is a lot quicker to the plate," Iannetta said. "Early in the year, I think he was between 1.7 and 1.9 to the plate. Now, he is way lower than that and has given me and Hank [Conger] a chance to throw guys out."
Emilio Bonifacio and Jose Reyes were caught in the third and Iannetta nabbed Edwin Encarnacion in the fourth.
"It's great to get results, that's the goal," Iannetta said. "The tough part is to make sure you don't rush and make a bad throw. There were a couple spurts throughout the year where I have rushed to try to make up some time and I one-hopped some balls, which isn't so bad, you don't want to overthrow it, but obviously the goal is to make a clean throw."
Vargas 'looked good' in 50-pitch sim game
ANAHEIM -- The Angels are still unsure when Jason Vargas will rejoin the starting rotation, but if Saturday's simulated game is any indication, he is getting much closer.
Prior to the Angels' game Saturday against the Blue Jays, Vargas threw 50 pitches in a three-inning simulated game and felt "really good," according to manager Mike Scioscia.
"I think his stuff looked good," Scioscia said. "As he went on, I think he really brought on some of the pitches he is going to need, his changeup and breaking ball, into the workout."
Although Vargas will likely need to pitch in a rehab assignment before he rejoins the rotation, the team is not yet declaring the next step.
The Angels will wait a day or two to see how Vargas feels then likely have him throw a bullpen session and go from there.
Before the left-hander was placed on the disabled list with a blood clot near his left armpit, he was 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA.
Scioscia weighs great grabs by Shuck, Trout
ANAHEIM -- J.B. Shuck may have made the catch of the year when he robbed a potential two-run home run and fell into the left-field stands in the fourth inning of Friday night's game.
The catch has been replayed countless times, photos and GIFs flooded social media, and the play was also No. 1 on SportsCenter's Top 10.
Shuck's grab has drawn a lot of attention, and deservedly so, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia still feels the catch Mike Trout made in Baltimore on June 27 last year was better.
"I've got to go with Trout's because of the distance he covered," Scioscia said. "J.B. got to the ball quicker and got a little more settled. Mike basically was at a pure sprint when he made his leap and caught that ball."
After comparing Trout's heroics with Shuck's, Scioscia was then asked to consider the catch Peter Bourjos made against the Orioles this June.
However, his answer did not change.
"That was pretty good, but I'd go with Trout," Scioscia said.
• Peter Bourjos' fractured wrist is progressing, but the center fielder still has a ways to go before he can return to action.
"He's feeling better," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's not quite ready to go out there and play in a rehab game, but he's feeling better."
Bourjos was one of three batters to participate in Jason Vargas' simulated game, but he simply tracked pitches and didn't swing.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.