Mike Scioscia doesn't want expectations to soar too high for his talented batch of rookies, cautioning after Tuesday's lopsided win that "there's going to be a learning curve for a lot of these youngsters."
What the Angels manager failed to mention is there will be learning fastballs, sliders and changeups.
The Angels saw — and missed — their share of them from Oakland right-hander Tyson Ross, who needed only 76 pitches to breeze through seven scoreless innings Wednesday.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Ross gave up four hits, all singles, struck out three and walked one, but like Angels starter Dan Haren, who gave up one unearned run and three hits in seven innings, Ross got a no-decision.
Haren, a control freak who rarely issues a free pass, walked one and hit a batter with a pitch in the third, an inning that included first baseman Howie Kendrick's fielding error. The A's scored on Daric Barton's sacrifice fly to left field.
"I was all over the place at the beginning, falling behind on too many counts," Haren said. "There was a misplay in the third, but I didn't do us any favors with the walks and the hit batter."
There was plenty of roster activity after the game, as the Angels optioned pitcher Matt Palmer to triple-A Salt Lake and designated reliever Jason Bulger for assignment to make room for starter Joel Pineiro and reliever Scott Downs.
Pineiro, who sat out the first month because of right shoulder tightness, will start Saturday's game in Tampa Bay, and Downs, on the disabled list because of a gastrointestinal virus, will be activated for Friday's game against the Rays.
The Angels will have 10 days to trade Bulger, who is out of minor league options, or release him. If the right-hander clears waivers, he could accept an assignment to triple-A Salt Lake.
Palmer's demotion means that 21-year-old Tyler Chatwood, who is 2-1 with a 3.86 earned-run average despite walking 15 in 231/3 innings, will remain in the rotation.
Vernon Wells' struggles with the Angels remind Haren of his former Oakland teammate, Frank Thomas, who opened 2006 with his new team batting .190 in April. The slugger finished that season with a .270 average, 39 home runs and 114 runs batted in.
"He just has to get his timing down," Haren said of Wells. "I'm sure his numbers will be there at the end. He's as frustrated as anyone else. He wants to get it done so badly. But a lot of times, guys switch teams and try too hard."
Kendrys Morales was re-examined Wednesday by Dr. Phil Kwong, a foot and ankle specialist. Scioscia characterized it as "part of the process" in Morales' recovery from a broken left ankle and not a setback.
Morales has not run for several days, but Scioscia said that was to allow the first baseman "more recovery days after his running."