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Deal for a hitter appears unlikely

Times Staff Writer

BALTIMORE -- If the Angels make a move before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline, it appears more and more likely it will be for a pitcher to bolster their bullpen or add rotation depth, not a hitter.

While there are few quality bats available, there is a bustling market for relievers that is believed to include top-tier left-handers Brian Fuentes (Colorado), George Sherrill (Baltimore) and Will Ohman (Atlanta) and right-hander Huston Street (Oakland).

Among the second-tier -- and less costly -- relievers available are left-handers Ron Mahay (Kansas City), Arthur Rhodes (Seattle), Alan Embree (Oakland), Scott Downs (Toronto), Jimmy Gobble (Kansas City) and Jack Taschner (San Francisco) and right-handers Chad Bradford (Baltimore) and David Weathers (Cincinnati).

The Angels like Francisco Rodriguez, Scot Shields and Jose Arredondo at the back of their bullpen, but they might look for a middle-relief upgrade over Darren Oliver and Justin Speier, or a starter who could step in if one of their pitchers gets hurt.

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“Sometimes acquiring that piece becomes difficult and ends up costing you more than the return,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I don’t know if there’s a pressing need . . . but you always want to add pitching depth.”

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Catching his breath

Jeff Mathis, who started 16 straight games after Mike Napoli went on the disabled list July 6, was not in the lineup Sunday, a day for the catcher “to recharge,” Scioscia said.

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He didn’t get the afternoon off. When Ryan Budde was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, Mathis caught the final two innings of a 5-2 loss to the Orioles.

Sunday’s break increases the chances of Mathis playing all seven games this week in Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.

Mathis, who went six for 16 with two homers and nine runs batted in over his last five games, has been preparing for his heavy workload by drinking more fluids and consuming more calories.

“I’m right at about 200 pounds -- I’ve only lost about two pounds, which is good,” Mathis said. “Surprisingly, my body feels good. This is what you prepare for in the off-season.”

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Super Sunday

One of baseball’s most peculiar losing streaks finally came to an end Sunday. In avoiding a three-game sweep, the Orioles won on a Sunday for the first time since a 3-2 victory over Seattle on April 6, a span of 15 games.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that tied Arizona, which lost on 15 straight Saturdays from May 8-Aug. 14, 2004, for the longest streak of losses on a specific day of the week since the 1939 St. Louis Browns lost 21 straight Tuesday games.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


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