TEMPE, Ariz. -- Veteran lefty Hisanori Takahashi made his spring debut on Tuesday. But while most relievers have been pitching an inning at a time so far this spring, Takahashi went two -- allowing no hits and no walks while striking out a couple of batters.
The Angels have two solid lefties in their bullpen, but neither is really what you would call a specialist. And with Scott Downs -- who has put up a 2.17 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP over the last five years -- entrenched in the back end, Takahashi can expect more two-inning performances during the regular season.
"Taka is going to give us more length than Scott, and Scott is going to be in our back end," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It does help you to mix and match a little bit earlier, but Taka, I think when his role comes up, he's going to be pitching to lefties and righties."
Scioscia wouldn't go so far as to call Takahashi a long reliever -- "He's valuable in holding leads, too," he added -- but the 36-year-old from Japan will once again help bridge the gap to the back end if a starter doesn't go deep.
Last year, while posting a 3.44 ERA in 61 games, Takahashi had 21 outings of more than one inning. Eight of them were of two-plus frames, and five of those came in June.
"I don't know about my role right now, because those kind of things Mike Scioscia and the coaches will decide," Takahashi said through a translator. "Whenever they want me up on the mound, I will try my best and get people out. That's all I can do."