3/22/2014 9:00 P.M. ET
Moran expected to start season on DL
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Lefty reliever Brian Moran started playing catch Saturday, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia said it's "going to be a while" before he throws off a mound again. The 25-year-old has four appearances this spring but hasn't pitched since March 12 because of inflammation in his left elbow and is expected to start the season on the disabled list.
Moran was selected in the Rule 5 Draft, which means the Angels have to offer him back to the Mariners if he's ever not on the active roster. But they can hold on to him while he's on the DL.
With Moran and Sean Burnett (recovery from August forearm surgery) both starting the year on the shelf, the Angels have at least two additional openings in their bullpen and Nick Maronde, the only healthy lefty reliever remaining in Spring Training, could get a chance to break camp with the team.
Right-handed reliever Dane De La Rosa, who has been nursing a right forearm strain for more than two weeks, threw his first bullpen session Friday since exiting the March 6 game early. De La Rosa has a chance to be ready by Opening Day, but it'll be close. Scioscia wants to see him pitch in multiple games before deeming him healthy for the regular season.
Blanton's future with Angels uncertain
PHOENIX -- Joe Blanton gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings against the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday, and there's a chance -- perhaps a strong one -- that it was his last official start in an Angels uniform.
"Whatever happens, happens," said Blanton, who is owed $8.5 million and without a perceivable role on the team. "All I can do is just go pitch and try to make the adjustments in-game and keep working hard."
Saturday marked Blanton's first start with the Angels' "A" team this spring, after his previous three outings came on the road half of split-squad games that were conveniently scheduled in five-day intervals. When Opening Day comes in nine days, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Hector Santiago, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs are expected to make up the rotation, and at some point before then, the Angels have to figure out what to do with Blanton.
If they can't find a trade partner, they'll either release him or temporarily stash him in a bullpen that has some open spots now that up to three relievers -- Sean Burnett, Dane De La Rosa and Brian Moran -- could start the season on the disabled list.
Asked about possibly breaking camp as a long reliever, Blanton, a starter for almost his entire 10-year career, said: "Cross that road when we get there. We'll see. I'm not thinking about anything else right now but my next start, getting my bullpen right again, making sure what I was doing right there at the end sticks."
Three starts ago, in desperate need of some positive momentum, Blanton moved to the third-base side of the rubber for the first time in his career. He was great his first time out, pitching five one-hit innings against the Rangers; so-so his second time, giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Cubs; and erratic until the very end against the Brewers his third time.
Blanton gave up a solo homer to Carlos Gomez on the second pitch of the game. He loaded the bases later in the first, plunked Ryan Braun in the back with a fastball and brushed Mark Reynolds back with another before getting out of the jam. In the second, he gave up a two-out RBI single to Rickie Weeks. And in the third, he put the first two batters on and surrendered a two-run triple off the center-field wall to Elian Herrera.
He took some solace in finally slowing down his delivery, repeating pitches and retiring his last four batters, then threw some pitches in the bullpen to make sure he could keep doing it.
"He finished strong," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "but he had a lot of trouble commanding counts in the early innings."
Blanton -- coming off a 2-14 record and a 6.04 ERA in 2013 -- is pitching from a completely different side of the rubber, at a lighter weight than ever, without a definitive role for the first time he can remember, and with a 7.08 Cactus League ERA that isn't making things any easier.
It's a bizarre spring for the 33-year-old right-hander.
"I mean I'd be lying if I said no, so, yeah," Blanton said. "But at the same time, it's something you really try not to think about. I really tried to approach it somewhat the same as every other spring. Like I said earlier, I always go out competitive every spring and try to compete every outing the best I can. So that really doesn't change. I've done what I do for so long; I have my routine set. So really, nothing has changed. I'm just trying to block that out and go about my business every day."
Torrealba won't accept Minor League assignment
PHOENIX -- Yorvit Torrealba can ask for his release if the Angels don't add him to the 40-man roster by Sunday, and the 35-year-old catcher plans to use it.
Going down to the Minor Leagues is not an option.
"I feel like I can keep playing in the big leagues," Torrealba said in Spanish on Saturday morning. "I already went through Triple-A, 12, 13 years ago. I'm pretty happy with what I've done in my career up to this point, I feel like I can keep providing more -- but in the big leagues, not [in the Minors]. We'll see what happens tomorrow."
Torrealba is a 13-year veteran who has played in 907 career regular-season games, plus an additional 24 in the playoffs, and started 48 behind the plate for the Rockies just last season. But he entered camp with long odds to make the team, with Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger essentially entrenched in a platoon. And it's unlikely that the Angels will open the season with three catchers.
"I thought they were going to give me an opportunity to compete, and in reality, I didn't get that opportunity -- to the point where I haven't caught more than two innings at a time," said Torrealba, who's batting .278 (5-for-18) and has started just one split-squad game all spring. "They haven't given me the opportunity to start a game. But they're the ones who make the decisions. I'm fine."
The Angels face the same deadline with corner infielder Chad Tracy and first baseman Carlos Pena, and Tracy was non-committal about whether he'd accept an assignment to the Minors.
Torrealba, meanwhile, was realistic about his odds and at peace with his situation about 24 hours before a determination. If he doesn't make the team, he'll go back to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., spend some time with his family and wait for a Major League opportunity to materialize.
"My door is open for another team," he said. "Tomorrow is an important day. I'll wait to see what I hear from other teams, to see if another team materializes. If not, then maybe I can spend more time with my family during that time. It's been 20 years since I've been with my family this time of year."
Burnett says elbow soreness is reaction to injection
PHOENIX -- Sean Burnett's interrupted bullpen session was "just a crazy reaction to the injection I had a week ago" and nothing the Angels' lefty reliever is worried about.
He expects to start throwing again on Sunday or Monday.
"It is a setback, I guess, but it's only going to cost me one or two days," Burnett said Saturday morning. "It's nothing serious."
A few days prior to his Friday session, Burnett took a synvisc shot -- an injectable lubricant that's used to treat arthritis and is commonly used for the knee. Burnett gets one in his elbow monthly, but his first one of the spring seemingly irritated a muscle, and Burnett felt "a little creak" in his left arm 15 to 20 pitches into his fifth bullpen session Friday -- the first one in which he threw breaking pitches.
Burnett wasn't concerned because the pain occurred on the side of the arm that did not undergo Tommy John surgery in 2005 or a cleanup in August. And two or three doctors confirmed that it was merely a reaction to the injection.
"It was on the opposite side of my arm," said Burnett, who was likely to start the season on the disabled list even before the setback. "There's no stress when it's on that side of the arm, really. Just a random thing."
• Josh Hamilton ran around a lot Friday, while scoring two runs in three plate appearances, and Scioscia believes he's "100 percent running." "No question," Scioscia added. "His times are great down the line, he turned that error [on a hard grounder to first base] into a double, he's moving well in the outfield. The question now is finding his timing at the plate, which he looks very close to."
• Likely Opening Day starter Jered Weaver will make his last spring start in a controlled environment, pitching in a Minor League game Tuesday to make sure he gets up seven times. No. 3 starter Hector Santiago did the same at Salt River Fields on Friday, giving up six runs and throwing 95 pitches in five-plus innings. The Angels aren't sure if C.J. Wilson will do it, too.
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.