The Los Angeles Angels don't seem to be having any more luck than the Dodgers when it comes to pitcher health this season. Reliever Scott Downs was forced to leave the Angels' 5-4 win over the Athletics on Wednesday night with a rib injury, which could mean the Angels will have used nineteen - yes, nineteen - pitchers this season by the end of Thursday's game against the Baltimore Orioles, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
Downs left the game not long after he entered in the eighth inning, when a line drive single from Adam Rosales came straight back at him and he twisted awkwardly as he tried to catch the ball and get his body out of the way at the same time. Gonzalez tweeted postgame that Downs had sustained a rib injury:
Scott Downs' pain is on his right rib cage area. Wasn't sure postgame if it would keep him out. "It's just frustrating," he said repeatedly.
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) May 2, 2013
Gonzalez notes that Downs experienced a similar problem last season, when a comebacker on June 10th caused him to miss 8 games. The veteran reliever will be evaluated on Thursday so it is not yet clear whether he will miss time. Downs clearly was extremely frustrated with the injury:
"That's the frustrating part, because you want to be out there," said Downs, who will get checked out in Anaheim on Thursday. "But we don't have one hero. We have seven, eight guys down there that want the ball and are going to have to contribute. It's just frustrating to have to come out of a situation like that, and to put Ernie in a tougher situation that he didn't deserve."
Ernesto Frieri dealt with the situation well, recording a five-out save by maintaining the Angels' slender one-run lead, but the Angels staff is still in a bad way. Frieri himself has never had elite control, but this season he has walked 8 batters in just 10.2 innings. Relievers Sean Burnett, Mark Lowe, Kevin Jepsen and Ryan Madson are all on the DL, along with ace Jered Weaver. Gonzalez says that Ryan Brasier, who was called up to replace Nick Maronde on Wednesday morning, is 'the last healthy pitcher available on their 40-man roster'. The team ERA of 4.91 is better than only the Houston Astros staff (5.42).
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