Walden, Downs earn high praise from Scioscia

Walden, Downs earn high praise from Scioscia

Walden, Downs earn high praise from Scioscia
ANAHEIM -- Rookie Angels closer Jordan Walden made the American League All-Star team, and veteran southpaw setup man Scott Downs easily could have been in Arizona with him.

While Walden has notched 21 saves with a 2.77 ERA in 40 appearances, Downs has been lights-out: 5-2, 1.45 ERA in 35 games, allowing just 20 hits in 31 innings.

"What Scotty Downs and Jordan Walden have done has been a season-saver," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We wouldn't even be talking about being in a pennant race without what those guys [have done]. Fernando Rodney being out has hurt, and we've lost some games not giving ourselves a shot at a comeback."

Rodney, recovering from a strained back muscle, was scheduled to make his second rehab start on Wednesday night for Class A Inland Empire in the California League.

Scioscia indicated that the bullpen is one area the club is exploring with the non-waiver Trade Deadline 11 days away. General manager Tony Reagins has been spending a lot of time on the phone, Scioscia said.

"There are some areas as a team where we'd like to see an upgrade," Scioscia said. "I'm not going to say what it is, because we have guys playing there now. There are a number of areas that are hopefully going to come up to help us have a deeper club. We're definitely looking at depth in the bullpen."

Southpaw Horacio Ramirez, summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake, hopes to be one of the answers, joining Downs and Hisanori Takahashi on the left side in Scioscia's balanced bullpen.