The Angels announced Sunday that Tyler Chatwood, a 21-year-old right-hander who has all of 6 2/3 innings of triple-A experience, will start Monday night against the Cleveland Indians and that reliever Scott Downs will be activated off the disabled list.
No surprises there.
The shocker was the players sent out to clear roster spots: Kevin Jepsen, a key late-inning reliever since 2009, and promising young reliever Michael Kohn were optioned to triple-A Salt Lake.
Remaining with the Angels were struggling right-hander Jason Bulger, who has walked eight in five innings, and right-hander Francisco Rodriguez, who was called up before Sunday’s game to replace shortstop Erick Aybar, who was put on the disabled list because of a left rib-cage strain.
Bulger is out of minor league options, meaning a team could claim him if the Angels try to send him to the minor leagues.
Asked whether he was surprised, Jepsen, who hasn’t pitched in the minor leagues since 2009, said, “You think? This is always difficult to swallow.”
Jepsen, 26, was 8-9 with a 4.43 earned-run average in two big league seasons but has struggled with his command this season, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in five games, walking four and striking out one in four innings.
“It’s about him getting back to basics, throwing his good, live fastball with command, bringing his cut fastball into the game and controlling counts,” Manager Mike Scioscia said.
Kohn, who was 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 24 games after being recalled last July, was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in five games.
“It’s a business — you have to throw well to stay here, and I didn’t throw to my abilities,” Kohn, 24, said. “I have to get back to attacking the zone.”
Chatwood, a former Redlands East Valley High School standout and second-round pick in 2008, split 2010 between Class-A Rancho Cucamonga (8-3, 1.77 ERA) and double-A Arkansas (4-6, 3.82 ERA). He started one game at triple-A last season and threw one inning there Saturday.
“I don’t think his age or where he’s pitched means as much as his makeup,” Scioscia said. “He really came on last year, and he pitched well for us this spring. We feel he’s ready for the challenge and will give us a chance to win as long as he’s in the rotation.”
Dan Haren, who made his first relief appearance in seven seasons Saturday night in the Angels’ 6-5, 14-inning victory over Toronto, had his next start pushed from Monday to Tuesday night.
The Angels won Saturday night’s 5-hour 3-minute marathon when Peter Bourjos doubled with two out in the 14th and scored on Maicer Izturis’ single, but they blew several chances to win sooner.
The Angels failed to score after putting runners on second and third with none out in the 11th and first and third with none out in the 13th. Vernon Wells was a culprit in both rallies, striking out in the 11th and flying to shallow left field to start a double play in the 13th.
They also ran into two key outs in the 13th, Torii Hunter making no attempt to return to first on Wells’ fly ball and Alberto Callaspo getting picked off first.
“That was ugly,” Hunter said.
The Angels caught a break in the top of the 13th. With Toronto runners on second and third and two out, Callaspo fielded Edwin Encarnacion‘s grounder and threw wide of first, the Blue Jays apparently scoring the go-ahead run.
But third base umpire Bob Davidson ruled that Yunel Escobar, who was on second, interfered with Callaspo, nullifying the run and ending the inning.
The rulebook states that if a runner “interferes, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses a fielder,” it is interference.
“We looked at the replay, and this was a textbook situation,” crew chief Jerry Layne said Sunday. “Anything a runner does to impede with the fielder whatsoever, it’s interference. The misconception is that there has to be contact. That’s not true.”