Takahashi in search of command

Takahashi in search of command

ST. PETERSURG -- Hisanori Takahashi, one the Angels' free-agent bullpen imports along with Scott Downs, narrowly missed on a few borderline pitches in Tuesday night's 5-3 win over the Rays.

Takahashi walked two hitters and gave up a hit and an earned run while getting one out, raising his ERA to 10.13. The former Yomiuri Giants star, an all-purpose weapon last year for the Mets, was close to flawless in Cactus League play.

"I don't think he's locked in yet to what he can do," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "The guy has an uncanny ability to command a baseball. He did just miss [Tuesday night], but there were too many three-ball counts.

"He's got to get ahead [in counts] and give himself a chance to put guys away. It's a balance you have to have, as far as making pitches in different zones. He has the ability to paint and make pitches, and right now he's not exactly where he needs to be."

Scott Downs, the other lefty acquired as a free agent in December, is scheduled to pitch an inning for high Class A Inland Empire on Thursday in his recovery from a broken left big toe.

Downs probably will need at least one more rehab assignment, Scioscia said, before rejoining the Angels' bullpen and fulfilling his anticipated role as an eighth-inning weapon.