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Angels' Fernando Rodney loses closer job to Jordan Walden

Walden_640
After the Angels bullpen lost three games in Kansas City during the Royals' final at-bat, Manager Mike Scioscia promised to "sort some things out." Tuesday he announced the results of that sorting process,  taking the role of closer away from Fernando Rodney and giving it to Jordan Walden.

Rodney, who struggled when handed closer duties last August, has pitched twice this season, giving up two runs, two hits and four walks in 1 1/3 innings. Walden, meanwhile, has made three appearances and is the only Angel reliever who has yet to allow a run, striking out five of the seven batters he's retired.

Scioscia said Rodney would be used in nonpressure situations until he corrects some mechanical issues. Left-hander Scott Downs, on the disabled list with a broken toe, is expected to make a minor-league rehab assignment this week and would be another closer candidate when he is reactivated, perhaps as early as the weekend.

But the bullpen wasn't the only part of the Angels' lineup to be shuffled Tuesday. Shortstop Erick Aybar, scratched from the lineup with tightness in his left side Sunday, will be on the Angels' bench again Tuesday when the team opens a brief, two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field.

Aybar is unlikely to play in the field before the start of the Angels' first homestand of the season Friday. And he's not the only Angel regular who won't be starting Tuesday. Catcher Jeff Mathis, who suffered through a historically poor game Sunday, going hitless in six at-bats while allowing six stolen bases, was also out of the lineup. Mathis is only the second catcher in baseball's live-ball era to go 0 for 6 at the plate and 0 for 6 behind it.

Rookie Hank Conger was to start in his place.

Here are the lineups:

Angels

SS -- Maicer Izturis

2B -- Howie Kendrick

DH -- Bobby Abreu

RF -- Torii Hunter

LF -- Vernon Wells

3B -- Alberto Callaspo

1B -- Mark Trumbo

C -- Hank Conger

CF -- Peter Bourjos

P -- Jered Weaver

Tampa Bay Rays

C -- John Jaso

LF -- Johnny Damon

2B -- Ben Zobrist

DH -- Manny Ramirez

1B --Dan Johnson

CF -- B.J. Upton

RF -- Matt Joyce

3B -- Sean Rodriguez

SS -- Reid Brignac

P -- Jeff Niemann

RELATED:

Jered Weaver aims to give battered bullpen a break

Scott Downs, Kendrys Morales making strides for Angels

-- Kevin Baxter in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Photo: Jordan Walden. Credit: Larry W. Smith / EPA

 
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