4/8/2014 10:47 P.M. ET
Moran, Burnett injuries have Halos short on lefties
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- The Angels have found out they'll be without one of their situational-lefty relievers and now have no idea when they'll get back the other.
Brian Moran, acquired in the Rule 5 Draft, is set to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery, the Angels announced early Tuesday afternoon. A few hours after that, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Sean Burnett, who is in the last season of a two-year, $8 million contract, has been temporarily "backed off" from his throwing program.
Burnett, who opened the season on the disabled list, was limited to 13 appearances last year and underwent left elbow surgery in August. He threw in a simulated game at Angel Stadium on Wednesday, then pitched in another sim game in Arizona on Saturday, and he hasn't thrown since.
"It's really going to be just day to day to see when he can pick it up," Scioscia said. "He's trying to get over the hump of some residual soreness that pops up here and there."
With Moran undergoing a procedure that usually requires 12 months of recovery for pitchers, and Burnett's status up in the air, the Angels are left with Nick Maronde (in the Majors), Buddy Boshers (Triple-A), Robert Carson (Triple-A) and Brandon Sisk (Double-A) as situational-lefty options for a bullpen set to face plenty of tough left-handed hitters in the American League West. Left-hander Jose Alvarez, acquired in exchange for infielder Andrew Romine during Spring Training, is in the starting rotation at Triple-A but has worked out of the bullpen before.
Often times last year, Burnett would successfully play catch and then have to take a step back -- until a late-July MRI exam revealed a small tear of a flexor tendon in his left elbow. Dr. James Andrews then reopened the scar from Burnett's 2004 Tommy John surgery to clean up some scar tissue that was pinning his ulnar nerve, then he had Burnett undergo stem-cell therapy a month later.
Scioscia noted that the pain Burnett is currently experiencing is in a different area from last year, which is somewhat relieving.
"I don't think you're at a point of writing anybody off," Scioscia said, "but there's certainly a question right now of when he's going to be back. You can't count on him until he gets to be 100 percent, and he's not there yet."
The Angels acquired Moran with reasonable hope that he could be an important situational lefty in their bullpen, and thus be the first Rule 5 Draft pick to stick on their roster since Derrick Turnbow in 2000.
But the 25-year-old made only four appearances in Spring Training before feeling discomfort in his left elbow around mid-March. He began playing catch shortly thereafter, but was never able to take the next step and throw off a mound.
A seventh-round Draft pick by the Mariners in 2009, Moran has posted a 3.06 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 4.35 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his Minor League career, while holding opposing lefties to a .594 OPS last season.
Rule 5 picks must be offered back to their original teams if not on the active roster, unless they're on the disabled list. The Angels can open up a spot on the 40-man roster by transferring Moran to the 60-day DL. But he'll be with the organization all year, while merely rehabbing.
"It's obviously a tough break for Moran and for us," Scioscia said. "There's no doubt you could see that he had the kind of stuff that can match up well against lefties. I'm sure when he resumes his career after he gets by this next year, we'll get a better look at him and see how it goes."
Homer puts Pujols over 1,500 RBIs
SEATTLE -- It might have taken a little longer than he would've wanted, but Albert Pujols nonetheless joined the prestigious 1,500 RBI club on Tuesday night, with a first-inning two-run homer off Mariners lefty James Paxton.
Pujols -- with 1,501 RBIs after the homer -- joins Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez as the only current players to reach the milestone. The 34-year-old slugger is only the 52nd player in history to drive in at least 1,500 runs, and is now seven homers away from 500.
Pujols entered the two-game series at Safeco Field with a .200 batting average, zero home runs and one RBI, then took a 1-0 fastball from Paxton and hit a bullet way out to left field to give the Angels an early 2-0 lead.
Weaver keeps Adenhart in his thoughts
SEATTLE -- Nick Adenhart is constantly on Jered Weaver's mind. He doesn't need to look at his son, named after the late Angels pitcher, or wait on the five-year anniversary of Adenhart's tragic car accident to remember him.
"He's one of those guys that you'll never forget; you'll never want to not remember the way he was," said Weaver, who engraves Adenhart's initials on the back of the mound before every start. "He was a great kid, man. Fun. He just wanted to be around everybody, and he loved playing baseball. And he was one of the guys. It's tough."
Wednesday will mark five years since 22-year-old Adenhart, 20-year-old Courtney Stewart and 25-year-old Henry Pearson were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver hours after Adenhart threw six scoreless innings against the A's in his 2008 debut. A fourth passenger, Jon Wilhite, sustained critical injuries.
"He definitely had a bright future, that's for sure," Weaver said. "I think we saw what he was capable of doing in that last start against Oakland. He just started figuring it out."
Every spring for the past few years, one of the Angels' young pitchers makes his way around the clubhouse to collect money for the Nick Adenhart Memorial Fund, which provides financial support to non-profit youth baseball organizations. Most times they're able to collect somewhere between $7,000 and $9,000. This year, with Michael Morin doing the collecting, the Angels gathered somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000.
On July 5, Weaver named his son and first child Aden to honor Adenhart.
He'll wait for his son to ask before telling him about the significance of his name.
"If not, definitely high school or something like that," Weaver said. "He'll get the idea, maybe talking with his classmates or something. It'll come out eventually."
Ibanez honored in return to Seattle
SEATTLE -- They still scream "Rauuuuuuuuuuuul" around these parts.
They chanted it before the pregame ceremonies, when the former Mariners outfielder and current Angels designated hitter was presented with the Hutch Award he earned for extensive community service. And they chanted it even louder when Raul Ibanez was introduced as part of the Angels' starting lineup before the first 2014 game at Safeco Field.
"I got to sleep in my own bed last night," said Ibanez, whose house is located roughly 30 minutes away from the Mariners' ballpark, on the east side of Seattle. "Getting to come back here a few times a year is a great thing."
Ibanez, 41, was drafted by the Mariners in the 36th round in 1992 and has spent 11 of his 19 seasons in Seattle, as part of three separate stints. He ranks sixth in franchise history in homers (156), RBIs (612) and hits (1,077), and hit 29 home runs this past season.
"I'm sure there's a lot of memories, but I come in here with a job to do," Ibanez said pregame. "So I don't really allow things to get all warm and fuzzy. I'm trying to win. I think of it more that way. I think there's plenty of time to reflect and get all warm and fuzzy over things when you're done playing."
• Dane De La Rosa pitched a second scoreless inning for Double-A Arkansas on Monday. The Arkansas Travelers are off on Wednesday, so De La Rosa (right forearm strain) won't pitch again until Thursday. His return from the disabled list will most likely be Saturday, so that he isn't pitching in back-to-back games.
• Angels manager Mike Scioscia will keep the order the same coming out of Thursday's off-day, with Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson pitching against the Mets, respectively, on five days' rest.
• Angels hitting coach Don Baylor received clearance from doctors on Tuesday to begin his rehab. Baylor had surgery to repair a fractured right femur on April 1 and could be in the dugout for Angels home games within six weeks.
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.