3/26/2014 2:57 P.M. ET
Angels grant Blanton unconditional release
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto made a statement about the club's expectations for Joe Blanton when the club granted the veteran pitcher his release Wednesday morning.
Blanton simply had not improved enough to make the team.
Then Dipoto made a declaration of his own.
"It's regrettable. It's a mistake on my part. There is no one else to blame," Dipoto said. "I made the call on signing Joe Blanton and bringing him in. Obviously, this isn't the way he wanted it to work. It's not the way I wanted it to work out. None of us. But unfortunately that's the way it goes sometimes. You make a business decision and move on."
Blanton appeared in four Cactus League games for the Angels this spring, amassing a 7.08 ERA in 20 1/3 innings spanning five appearances (four starts). He came into camp at a lighter weight but without a definitive role.
"Coming into Spring Training, we just wanted to see some adjustment, some type of move forward, an improvement in performance or an adjustment that led us to believe something better was coming and we just didn't see that," Dipoto said. "We had a tough decision to make and we made that decision today. Joe was either going to be on our big league club or he wasn't. Today, we determined that he wasn't."
Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Hector Santiago, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs are expected to make up the rotation and the pitching order continues to come together. Santiago will take the hill Thursday and Richards is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Skaggs is scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Dodgers at Angel Stadium.
Blanton's departure and the new schedule mean Richards and Skaggs will make their first starts of the regular season on seven-days' rest.
"Joe understands the situation and I think we have all been in this together with Joe for the last year. We've all shared the frustration," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's not a guy in that clubhouse that works harder than Joe. It's unfortunate that the results of his hard work didn't really translate last year into production. I know he's going to keep going and I'm sure he will get picked up."
Blanton, a 10-year veteran who signed with the Angels as a free agent in December 2012, went 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA last season, splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. With one year remaining on his contract, he is owed $8.5 million, including a $1 million buyout.
"These (decisions) are tough whether it's zero dollars or $8.5 million," Dipoto said. "The easiest way I can answer that question is that Arte (Moreno) has always been of the mind since I've been here that whatever decisions are best for the quality of the product on the field and give us the best chance to win, those are the decisions that we should make. That's the decision we made today."
Burnett pain-free after throwing bullpen session
TEMPE, Ariz.-- Left-handed reliever Sean Burnett said he felt fine Wednesday, one day after throwing his first bullpen session since experiencing stiffness in his left arm last week.
"I'm feeling great now, pain-free and everything is good," Burnett said. "I threw the ball at 85 percent (Tuesday). There's good action and the ball is moving. Can I get it up to game speed? No, but I wouldn't say my bullpen was a failure or setback."
The Angels were hoping for a breakthrough performance from Burnett on Tuesday. The reliever described Tuesday's session as a "surgery-type of bullpen where you stop and are asked how you feel every 10 pitches."
"Burnett is trying to fight through that last five percent to get his arm where it needs to be," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There will always be bumps in the road in rehab and he's going to have to get over them. Hopefully, he can break through this last plateau and get ready to pitch at some point in the season. When that is, we don't know."
Burnett is scheduled to throw another bullpen Thursday.
"It's a process and I'd love to get out there and throw at 100 percent and I know they would like that, too, but I'm not able to right now," he said. "Hopefully, with each bullpen I get a little bit better and in a week or two I'll be at 100 percent. I walked off the mound feeling positive."
On Friday, Burnett made it halfway through his scheduled bullpen session because of stiffness in his left arm. He was limited to 13 appearances last season because of elbow issues and had surgery in August. He will start the season on the disabled list.
"I was pleased and I know the training staff was pleased," Burnett said. "I know the coaching staff would like to see me at 100 percent, but it's going to be a few more times before I throw 100 percent."
Moran progressing toward bullpen workout
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Reliever Brian Moran continues to make progress.
Moran, who hasn't pitched since March 12 because of inflammation in his left elbow, has been throwing at a distance of 150 feet and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday.
He's expected to start the season on the disabled list.
"I was tender there after that last outing so I figured we would give it a little time off and I feel a lot better now," Moran said. "It has not going exactly how I would have hoped but I'm feeling better and that's all I can ask for right now. Hopefully, I'll get out on a rehab assignment sometime."
The Angels would have to offer Moran, a Rule 5 Draft selection, back to the Mariners if he's not on the active roster, but can keep him while he's on the disabled list.
• Dane De La Rosa, who is nursing a right forearm strain, will start the season on the disabled list. He is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game Thursday.
"He"s going to need some work before he's going to be ready to pitch in the big leagues," Scioscia said. "Hopefully, shortly after the start of the season he'll be ready."