Surprising Angels moves: Jepsen, Kohn demoted; Chatwood to pitch Monday
The Angels, as expected, announced after Sunday's 3-1 victory over Toronto that 21-year-old Tyler Chatwood would be called up from triple A to start Monday night against Cleveland, and that veteran reliever Scott Downs would be activated off the disabled list.
But the two players who were sent out to clear roster spots for Chatwood and Downs came as a big surprise: Kevin Jepsen, one of the team's key late-inning relievers since 2009, and Michael Kohn, one of the team's most promising young relievers, were both optioned to triple-A Salt Lake.
Remaining with the Angels was struggling right-hander Jason Bulger, who has walked eight batters in five innings but is out of minor league options, meaning any team could claim him if the Angels try to send him to the minor leagues.
Asked if he was surprised by the demotion, Jepsen, who hasn't pitched in the minor leagues since 2009, said, "You think? Yeah, it caught me by surprise. This is always difficult to swallow."
Jepsen, 26, was 6-4 with a 4.94 earned-run average in 54 games for the Angels in 2009 and 2-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 68 games last season, but he has struggled with his command this season, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in five games, walking four and striking out only 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 went 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 24 games for the Angels after being racelled last July, was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA and two home runs allowed in five games. Scioscia said the 24-year-old needs to regain command of his fastball and slider.
"It's a business -- you have to throw the ball well to stay up here, and I didn't throw to my abilities," Kohn said. "I got away from attacking the zone. I have to get back to the way I know I can pitch."
Photo: Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the eighth inning on April 2 at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken / US Presswire