The loss of reliever Mark Eichhorn to the 15-day disabled list Friday because of an inflamed right rotator cuff would not appear to be monumental. The submarine style-throwing right-hander is a 35-year-old journeyman who has changed teams five times in eight years and hardly strikes fear in opponents.
But Manager Marcel Lachemann knows losing Eichhorn is yet another severe blow to an ailing pitching staff.
Eichhorn, whose job is to bridge the gap between Angel starters and short relievers, has been the team's only consistently effective middle reliever, maintaining a 3.46 earned-run average in 17 games until he was hit hard in his last two sore-shouldered appearances, after which his ERA jumped to 5.13.
When Eichhorn was on the disabled list from May 16-30, six middle relievers gave up 24 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings for an 11.78 ERA.
The newest to step into the role is Ryan Hancock, a 24-year-old right-hander and former Brigham Young quarterback who was 2-4 with a 3.98 ERA in 10 starts at triple-A Vancouver before being called up Friday.
Third baseman Jack Howell sat out his fourth consecutive game because of a strained left hamstring, and designated hitter Chili Davis sat out for the fourth time in five games because of a strained left hamstring. Catcher Jorge Fabregas missed his second game in a row because of a bruised bone in his left hand. . . . Lachemann said there's a possibility Jim Edmonds, on the disabled list because of a strained abdomen and groin, could rejoin the team in Kansas City Monday. . . . The Indians surpassed the 1-million mark in attendance Friday night.