Lefty newcomers pay off for Angels in 'pen

Lefty newcomers pay off for Angels in 'pen

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' winter shopping spree on left-handed relief is looking like a wise investment, in light of early returns.

Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi, veterans acquired to provide balance to a bullpen that was tilting heavily to the right, have been in fine early grooves.

Downs, one of the game's premier setup artists in Toronto, is 1-0 and has yielded two hits and no runs in three innings, striking out one hitter. Opponents are batting .182 against him.

Takahashi (1-0) also has worked three innings, giving up three hits and hitting one batter while striking out two. Hitters are batting .214 against the former Yomiuri Giants star who excelled last year for the Mets in his debut Major League season.

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Downs, who turns 35 on March 17, signed a three-year, $15 million deal. Takahashi, 36 on April 2, is on board for two years and $8 million.

"These guys are throwing well, looking good," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're excited about the balance and depth they can give us in our bullpen."