The Angels learned Saturday that right-hander Cory Rasmus will miss the first six to eight weeks of the regular season with an undefined "core injury" that will require surgery. That will leave the team with a big hole in the middle of its bullpen, where Rasmus was expected to pitch as the staff's long reliever.
"It definitely opens up a void," Manager Mike Scioscia said.
Rasmus, 27, split last season between the Angels and triple-A Salt Lake, appearing in 30 games in the majors and posting a 2.57 earned-run average in 56 innings. He is scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday in Arizona. He is expected to resume light throwing in mid-April but won't be able to do anything strenuous until May, Scioscia said.
Rasmus had only pitched twice this spring, giving up five runs on seven hits in three innings.
Scioscia said Rasmus' absence could clear the way for either left-hander Jose Alvarez or right-hander Drew Rucinski to make the opening day roster.
"I think the depth is there," Scioscia said. "There’s a lot of different things that we talk about that might pop up. As we get through these next 10 days we’ll get some clarity about how our bullpen is going to stack up."
Alvarez has allowed two runs and six hits in four innings this spring while Rucinski has given up two runs on three hits in 7 1/3 innings. The Angels break spring training camp on April 1.
The Angels were already dealing with nagging injuries to two key players with Josh Rutledge having missed four days with a tight hamstring while Johnny Giavotella had an X-ray taken of his left thumb Saturday morning.
Rutledge could be out a couple more days while the availability of Giavotella, who was hurt sliding in Friday's game, will be determined by the X-rays. Both players are battling for the Angels' starting job at second base.