Angels reliever Scott Downs to avoid DL

NEW YORK -- The Angels got some good news regarding their bullpen Friday. General Manager Jerry Dipoto said an MRI test on Scott Downs’ injured right ankle showed no significant damage, and the team’s best reliever will not have to go on the disabled list.

Downs, who twisted the ankle and had it stepped on while covering first base in the seventh inning of Thursday’s 10-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins, was listed as day to day, and the left-hander is doubtful for this weekend’s series in Yankee Stadium.

Though Downs’ injury does not appear to be serious, Dipoto indicated that he has intensified his search for relief help after the Angels bullpen failed to protect a two-run seventh-inning lead in Wednesday night’s loss to the Twins and was torched for seven runs and 11 hits Thursday.


“We’re looking under every rock, which we’ve been doing since November, but there isn’t a surplus of high-quality relievers available,” Dipoto said. “We’ve had a rough couple of days, but there’s no reason to push the panic button.”

Dipoto said he is “not currently looking at” free-agent pitchers, which would rule out veteran left-hander Mike Gonzalez, and that for the time being, the Angels will have to find their bullpen solutions in-house.

They called up right-hander David Carpenter from triple-A Salt Lake on Friday and summoned left-hander Brad Mills from Salt Lake in case Downs has a setback over the next few days and is unable to return for more than a week.

“There are 30 teams, and I bet all of them are not particularly satisfied with the depth of their bullpen,” Dipoto said. “The next team that utters the words, ‘We have a perfect bullpen,’ will be the first.”

Meanwhile, Angels right-hander Ervin Santana, who has a 5-5 career record and 5.55 earned run average against the Yankees, will make the start in New York’s home opener. Several Yankees, including Derek Jeter (.447, three homers) and Robinson Cano (.344, four homers) have hit Santana well.

The Angels lineup: SS Erick Aybar, RF Bobby Abreu, 1B Albert Pujols, DH Kendrys Morales, 3B Mark Trumbo, LF Vernon Wells, 2B Maicer Izturis, C Chris Iannetta, CF Peter Bourjos, P Ervin Santana.

The Yankees lineup: SS Derek Jeter, CF Curtis Granderson, 3B Alex Rodriguez, 2B Robinson Cano, 1B Mark Teixeira, RF Nick Swisher, DH Raul Ibanez, C Russell Martin, LF Brett Gardner, P Hiroki Kuroda.


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