Scioscia says Bell's spot in rotation safe for now

While acknowledging that Trevor Bell "had kind of a clunker in Toronto," Mike Scioscia isn't ready to trade in the 22-year-old for another fifth starter.

The Angels manager said Monday that Bell would start again Friday against Oakland, with Matt Palmer likely to assume the No. 5 spot in the rotation if Bell continues to struggle. Bell was hammered for six runs in only 1 2/3 innings Sunday against Toronto and is 1-1 with a 9.49 earned-run average in three starts.

"We have a lot confidence he'll bounce back and give us a good game," said Scioscia, who will need seven more starts from a fifth starter over the season's final six weeks.

Bell said he didn't feel as much pressure to keep his spot in the rotation as he did to help the Angels hold off Texas in the American League West.

"I told a couple of guys that I don't expect myself to go 5-0 right now with a 1.00 ERA," Bell said. "I'm just trying to get a 'W' for the team since we're in a pennant race. That's why I'm here."


Friendly rivalry

For a pair of longtime friends, John Lackey and Jarrod Washburn hardly bring out the best in each other.

The former World Series teammates have faced each other three times, and the numbers aren't pretty. Lackey is 1-0 with a 7.02 ERA and Washburn is 0-2 with an 8.27 ERA. The Angels have won two of three meetings.

"Hopefully, that will change," said Washburn, who tonight will face Lackey and the Angels for the first time as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Even though the pitchers remain close four years after Washburn left the Angels to sign with Seattle, Lackey said Washburn "wants to beat me as bad as I want to beat him. It will be a fun challenge to go up against another good pitcher.

"We can hang out and talk about it afterward."

With both players' teams leading their respective divisions, tonight's pitching matchup could be a prelude to a postseason duel. Would that be kind of cool, different and exciting?

"All of that," Washburn said, smiling. "Cool, different and exciting."


Saunders ready to go

Scioscia confirmed that Joe Saunders would be activated from the disabled list and start Wednesday afternoon against Detroit.

Saunders last pitched Aug. 7 before being sidelined with tightness in his shoulder that he then admitted had bothered him all season. The left-hander threw a bullpen session Monday and said "everything feels really good," though he could be on a pitch count against the Tigers.

"I think it's safe to say he won't throw 110, 115 pitches," Scioscia said, "but he'll have enough to pitch deep into the game if he's effective."


Short hops

The Angels will induct Chuck Finley and Brian Downing into their Hall of Fame before their makeup game against Oakland on Thursday, with Willie Fraser introducing Finley and Bobby Grich introducing Downing. Twenty-one former Angels are scheduled to attend the ceremony, including Jim Fregosi and Rod Carew. Don Baylor and Nolan Ryan will deliver video messages. . . . Jon Wilhite, who survived the car crash that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart in April, is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Angels play Oakland on Saturday. The families of Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson, who also died in the crash, will also be honored.





When: 7.

Where: Angel Stadium.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 980, 1330.

Pitchers: John Lackey vs. Jarrod Washburn.

Update: Lackey and Washburn are facing each other for the fourth time since they teamed to help the Angels win the 2002 World Series, with the Angels having won two of the three meetings. While Lackey has developed into one of the top starting pitchers in the American League, Washburn is having his best season since he went 8-8 with a 3.20 earned-run average for the Angels in 2005. Angels Manager Mike Scioscia credited Washburn's resurgence in part to regaining some velocity on his fastball, which has been clocked in the low 90s. "I know he's excited to be back in the playoff race and to be with a team that has a chance to make the postseason," Lackey said of Washburn, recently traded from Seattle to Detroit. "If we faced each other in the postseason, I think it would be a positive for both of us."

-- Ben Bolch

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