Halos still have high hopes for Pineiro

Halos still have high hopes for Pineiro

NEW YORK -- It continues to be a work in progress for struggling Angels pitcher Joel Pineiro, who recently made the move from the rotation to the bullpen and made his first relief appearance of the season Wednesday night against the Yankees.

In his first outing out of the 'pen since Aug. 22, 2008, Pineiro surrendered three runs on three hits while facing 13 batters in three innings.

"I think the last inning, we saw a little more crispness to his pitches -- little better sink, tighter slider," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "The first couple innings, it was a lot of the same. He pitched the sixth and the seventh, and it was a lot of the same things that troubled him earlier. But I think the eighth inning, he threw a lot of good pitches, some nice pitches. We'll see if he can carry it over."

Pineiro was demoted to the bullpen last week after going 0-3 with a 14.85 ERA over four poor starts. He also gave up a total of 22 earned runs and 29 hits in 13 1/3 innings.

But Scioscia emphasized Thursday that the Angels hope to have the right-hander factor into the starting rotation yet again this season, and Monday's start against the Rangers could still be a possibility.

"Our long-term goal with Joel, our goal this season, is to get him back pitching well enough to be in rotation," Scioscia said. "That's something that would be important to us, but we'll see."