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Isringhausen wants to mentor by example

Isringhausen wants to mentor by example

Isringhausen wants to mentor by example
TEMPE, Ariz. -- With Jason Isringhausen's 15 years of big league experience, the Angels are looking forward to the intangible qualities the 39-year-old reliever can bring to the club this season. But manager Mike Scioscia is most excited about the tangible qualities the veteran can still provide.

"I think there will be intangibles," Scioscia said. "But we need the tangibles from him. We need him going out there and pitching to his capabilities, and that's what's going to give our bullpen a big lift."

Isringhausen did just that in his Cactus League debut on Friday, tossing a perfect sixth inning against the Indians, striking out one.

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"His velocity looked good. He spun the ball well, threw some really good curveballs," Scioscia said. "We'll see how he moves along. It's only the first outing for him, but it's a good start, for sure."

The Halos are hoping that Isringhausen, who is third among active players with 300 career saves after stints with the Cardinals, Mets, A's and Rays, can provide a huge bang for their buck after he was signed to a Minor League contract this offseason. He's not likely to challenge young Jordan Walden for the closer's role, but should fit in nicely with fellow veterans LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Downs as a setup man.

"I think it should work, as long as we keep Mr. Walden under control," Isringhausen said. "He gets amped up. That comes with experience. Last year, he was kind of thrown into the situation, and I know how I was the first couple years -- I was the same way. You've just got to have fun with it, enjoy it, use it to your advantage and not let it get by you too quick."

Walden, thrust into the closer's role as a rookie last season, had 32 saves, but was tied for first in the Majors with 10 blown saves. This year, with a veteran closer like Isringhausen serving as a mentor, Walden figures to learn a thing or two in the maturation process.

"With him, it's mainly off-the-field things -- mainly how he goes about his business, his routine, what he does to get ready for the game and the whole season," Walden said.

Scioscia said a veteran reliever like Isringhausen doesn't typically need too many appearances in Spring Training to get in game mode, though the hurler said he's looking forward to getting some reps.

"They've taken it kind of slow with me, which is fine," Isringhausen said. "I know what I need to get in games. We've still got about 2 1/2 weeks left, so there's plenty of time. I just want to go out there and concentrate on keeping the ball down, not trying to do anything special."

The two-time All-Star is unlikely to duplicate the 32-plus-save seasons he put up from 2000-07 (except for '03, he had 22 saves), but the Angels are still certain he can be a contributing factor for a club that figures to be chasing down a playoff spot this year. And Isringhausen knows he took one of the first important steps on Friday.

"I need to get more repetitions," he said. "It's all about throwing in games and throwing sides. I've had four to five sides. And now, the more I pitch, the better I'll be."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.‬ This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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