Angels move Pineiro to bullpen; Weaver expected to drop appeal
Struggling right-hander Joel Pineiro was removed from the rotation and demoted to the bullpen before Thursday night's game against the Minnesota Twins, but Manager Mike Scioscia said he won't name a replacement until early next week.
Because of Monday's off day, the Angels won't need a fifth starter until Wednesday night in Yankee Stadium. Among the in-house candidates are reliever Hisanori Takahashi, triple-A right-hander Trevor Bell and double-A right-hander Garrett Richards, the organization's top pitching prospect.
The team's rotation for the remainder of this homestand is Dan Haren on Thursday night, Jered Weaver on Friday night, Tyler Chatwood on Saturday night and Ervin Santana on Sunday.
Weaver is expected to drop his appeal of a six-game suspension for throwing at the head of Detroit catcher Alex Avila after Friday night's game and begin serving it Saturday. That would put the right-hander in line to pitch next Saturday, Aug. 13, in Toronto.
Under that scenario, Haren would pitch Tuesday night in New York, the new fifth starter would pitch Wednesday night, Chatwood would start next Thursday in New York, and Santana would start the opener of a three-game series in Toronto on Aug. 12.
Pineiro is 0-3 with a 14.85 earned-run average in his last four starts, having given up 22 earned runs and 29 hits, walking six and striking out two in 13 1/3 innings. The 32-year-old will probably be relegated to a mop-up role, which will make it difficult to retain the form that made the sinker-ball specialist an effective starter for much of the last two seasons.
"Going to the bullpen, he'll certainly take a step back and exhale," Scioscia said of Pineiro. "As far as getting functional work, it's going to be hit or miss. But the bottom line is that where J.P. is right now and where he can be, that divide was widening. We need that gap to close."
The Angels lineup: DH Maicer Izturis, 3B Alberto Callaspo, RF Torii Hunter, LF Vernon Wells, 2B Howie Kendrick, 1B Mark Trumbo, SS Erick Aybar, CF Peter Bourjos, C Jeff Mathis, P Dan Haren.
The Twins lineup: CF Denard Span, 1B Joe Mauer, 2B Michael Cuddyer, RF Jason Kubel, DH Jim Thome, 3B Danny Valencia, LF Delmon Young, SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka, C Drew Butera, P Francisco Liriano.
Photo: Angels pitcher Joel Pineiro during a start in May. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times