5/9/2014 8:25 P.M. ET
Santiago shifts to bullpen to help right early issues
By Chris Toman / Special to MLB.com
TORONTO -- Left-hander Hector Santiago has been removed from the Angels' rotation after seven starts, and he will pitch out of the bullpen, at least temporarily.
Santiago, who is 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA, was initially scheduled to pitch Tuesday's series opener against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. It's unclear who Los Angeles will start, but Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher hinted that someone from Triple-A Salt Lake could come up to take Santiago's spot.
For now, Santiago will work on making adjustments while serving as the only lefty in the Angels' bullpen.
"Hopefully, things work out to where he gets his head right and we can get him back in the rotation sooner than later," Butcher said. "I'm sure it's obviously not something he wants to do, going to the bullpen, but I think just to kind of clear his mind out. ... He will still be in big situations coming out of the bullpen for us."
Command, Butcher said, has been the biggest issue troubling Santiago. He was yanked after 2 1/3 innings in his last start, which was the shortest outing of his season.
Santiago, who was acquired from the White Sox in a three-team deal in the offseason, has plenty of experience working out of the bullpen. The 26-year-old was used almost exclusively as a reliever for the White Sox during the 2012 season, and he made 11 appearances out of the 'pen in '13.
With the way he has been throwing the ball, Santiago assumed change was coming.
"Obviously I didn't want it to happen, but I was looking for something to happen the way it was going," Santiago said. "Hopefully this is the key. Go out and get that relief mentality. Go out and get one inning at a time, get back in there and hopefully finish the year in the rotation."
The Angels are hoping that's the case, too.
"He's done it in the past, and it seems like it has worked for him in the past," Butcher said about Santiago shuffling between the bullpen and rotation. "Take a little breather out of the bullpen, and hopefully this gets him back on track and gets him back focused to doing the things he needs to do to be a starter.
"We want him to get back to what he's capable of doing."
Angels call up outfielder Navarro, option Maronde
TORONTO -- The Angels recalled Efren Navarro from Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday and plugged him into the No. 8 spot in the lineup for the series opener against the Blue Jays. Navarro's promotion was Los Angeles' corresponding move after optioning left-hander Nick Maronde to the Salt Lake Bees on Wednesday.
Though Navarro has primarily been used as a first baseman throughout his professional career, he has played some outfield this season and manned left field for the Angels on Friday. Bench coach Dino Ebel, who is acting as the Angels manager for the first two games of the series, said the club has received good reports about Navarro's work in the outfield.
"He has good hands," Ebel said. "He's comfortable and they say his arm plays well. Out there, it shouldn't be a problem and he has [Mike] Trout out there [in center field]."
Ebel mentioned that Navarro, who honed his skills in the outfield during winter ball, could see some time in right field during the four-game set in Toronto, too. The club intends to juggle its lineup to rotate some players through at designated hitter because of the AstroTurf at Rogers Centre, which is considered to be tough on the body.
Trout and Albert Pujols will both DH in the series, Ebel said, and Collin Cowgill would shift to center field when Trout does, allowing Navarro a chance to start in right.
Navarro hit .315 with 14 RBIs and a .401 on-base percentage in 34 games with the Bees. He entered Friday's contest a career .214 hitter at the Major League level over 12 games, and he doubled in his first at-bat off Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan.
Maronde, meanwhile, had a 5.68 ERA in 11 appearances out of the Angels' bullpen.
Bench coach Ebel replaces Scioscia for two games
TORONTO -- Bench coach Dino Ebel will serve as the Angels' manager against the Blue Jays on Friday and Saturday, as Mike Scioscia is away from the club to attend his daughter's college graduation.
Ebel, who has managed in the Minor Leagues and in the Dominican Winter League, was honored to get the nod, even if it will only be for two games.
"It's always exciting when you have the [lineup] card in your back pocket," Ebel said. "Sitting next to Mike day in and day out and hearing the way he talks about the game ... you always learn. In this game, since Day 1, I'm not a guy who is going to shut his ears off when people are talking."
Ebel said the coaching staff got together earlier in the week and mapped out certain lineups and situations for the Toronto series, so he feels well prepared to take over. He also said he will be calling Scioscia after each game to update him about the team's play.
"I think I need to do that," Ebel said. "Let him have a peace of mind."
• Left-hander Sean Burnett will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Arkansas on Saturday. Burnett, who has thrown in extended spring training, has not appeared in a Major League game since May 2013 after undergoing elbow surgery.
• Right-hander Dane De La Rosa will need to make at least one more rehab outing before rejoining the Angels, pitching coach Mike Butcher said. De La Rosa, who has been limited to one appearance this season due to right s/c joint irritation, could potentially return to the club before the four-game set in Toronto concludes.
• Ernesto Frieri will act as the Angels' closer for now, but both he and Joe Smith are likely to get save opportunities moving forward, Butcher said. Smith, who been dealing with tightness in his right side, which forced him to miss Los Angeles' three-game set against the Yankees, has converted three saves this season, the same as Frieri.
It was Frieri's job to start the season, but he struggled and allowed Smith to enter the mix.
"There will be times throughout the year where there will probably be a better matchup with Joe Smith out there," Butcher said.
Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.