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Bullpen Gets a New Look; Ramirez Sent to Minors

Times Staff Writer

With relievers Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez expected to be unavailable for the next several days, the Angels fortified their bullpen Wednesday by promoting minor league relievers Rich Rodriguez and Derrick Turnbow.

Shields is expected to start Saturday, in place of the injured Kevin Appier. Francisco Rodriguez returned to his Venezuela home Wednesday, upon learning of the death of his grandmother. The Angels also sent outfielder Julio Ramirez to triple-A Salt Lake, and he is not expected to exercise his right to refuse the assignment.

Rich Rodriguez, 40, said he briefly considered retirement when the Angels cut him at the end of spring training. The Angels promoted him from Salt Lake, where he posted a 3.12 earned-run average in six appearances. He joins his eighth major league team, the fifth in the last five years.

Manager Mike Scioscia said Rodriguez was selected because he was pitching the best among the Salt Lake relievers, not because the Angels wanted another left-handed reliever to push Scott Schoeneweis, who has been scored upon in each of his last six appearances.

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Schoeneweis has given up 13 hits and five walks in 8 1/3 innings, good for an 8.64 ERA. He strikes out so few batters and gives up so many hits that he cannot afford the luxury of walks, and right now he cannot harness the movement on his pitches.

“I don’t want to be a detriment to the team,” he said. “I want to be an asset. Right now, I’m a detriment.”

The Angels expect Francisco Rodriguez to return this weekend. They put him on the bereavement list and replaced him with Turnbow, promoted from double-A Arkansas to Salt Lake on Wednesday morning and then re-routed to Anaheim when Rodriguez left for Venezuela.

Turnbow, 25, who has sat out most of the past two seasons after three arm surgeries, dazzled the Angels in spring training with a 97-mph fastball. In 14 innings at Arkansas, the right-hander gave up no runs and four hits while striking out 19.

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The Angels also lost left-hander Eric Cyr to the Cincinnati Reds on a waiver claim, one day after he threw seven no-hit innings for Arkan- sas.

The Angels were one day shy of getting him through waivers, General Manager Bill Stoneman said, “and then he throws the game of his life. But, up until he pitched the game of his life, he hadn’t pitched very well.” Cyr, 24, was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA at Arkansas.

The transaction was curious because, even though the Angels had determined Cyr was unlikely to make the majors, they did not need the spot on the 40-man roster.


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