Walden in, Rodney out as closer

Walden in, Rodney out as closer

ST. PETERSBURG -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't know how long it will last, but Jordan Walden is his new closer. The young gun replaces veteran Fernando Rodney, who will try to find what's been missing in a bullpen role with less impact.

"We had good conversations with Fernando," Scioscia said before Tuesday night's series opener against the Rays. "There are some things he needs to reconnect with in his delivery, getting it more compact. He's been a little long with it.

"Tonight, Jordan will close. We need Fernando, whether it's the seventh, eighth or ninth. We'll focus on getting Fernando right along with Kevin Jepsen, Michael Kohn, all those guys [throwing] to their abilities."

Walden appeared in three of the four games in Kansas City, going 2 1/3 scoreless innings and giving up one hit and one walk while striking out five. He was dominant this spring.

"If it lasts all season and Jordan takes off and runs with it, fine," Scioscia said. "If it's Fernando, that's fine, too. We don't have to answer that today."

The bullpen struggled in losing three of four to the Royals. In 16 combined innings, the relief corps yielded nine earned runs on 19 hits and 12 walks. Rodney coughed up four walks and two earned runs while getting four outs in two appearances.