Francisco Rodriguez is gone -- what now for Angels?
LAS VEGAS -- Mike Scioscia said today that the Angels wouldn't necessarily enter the 2009 season with a set ninth-inning reliever to replace closer Francisco Rodriguez, who has agreed to a three-year, $37-million deal with the New York Mets.
Veteran set-up man Scot Shields will probably be given first crack at the job, and right-hander Jose Arredondo, who was both impressive and dominant in his rookie season, will be considered. Veteran left-hander Darren Oliver could pitch later in games, and hard-throwing youngster Kevin Jepsen will likely play a more prominent role. The Angels are also talking to the agent for free-agent closer Brian Fuentes.
"If one guy steps up and siezes the role, we can adjust the bullpen accordingly," Scioscia said. "Right now, Shields has the most experience, but that doesn't mean we'll go into the season with just Shields closing games. It's easier when you have one guy. We might not be there in December, but we might be there by May. ... It will be more of a committee look until someone takes off with that role."
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Scot Shields is shown during Game Four of the ALCS in October. Credit: Elsa / Getty Images