Injuries create opportunities in Halos' bullpen

Injuries create opportunities in Halos' bullpen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's now likely that reliever Bobby Cassevah (slight labrum tear) will begin the season on the disabled list, and the Angels aren't quite sure when Michael Kohn (forearm strain) will return.

Suddenly, a couple of spots may have opened up in the bullpen.

"With Kohn and Cassevah, two guys who were in the mix to win a spot, it takes some things out," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But I don't think there's going to be a shortage of arms we're going to trust to come in and get outs and hold leads for us."

Closer Jordan Walden, veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins and the two lefties, Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi, are locks for four of the seven spots in Scioscia's bullpen.

Then there's Jason Isringhausen, the 39-year-old former closer who came in on a Minor League contract and will appear in games on Wednesday and Thursday. Isringhausen will go into them with something to prove, after giving up four runs in 3 2/3 innings this spring -- including three while only recording two outs in Sunday's ninth inning.

And there's Kevin Jepsen, who made 122 appearances for the Angels from 2009-10, underwent knee surgery last season and now seems to have regained the life on his fastball.

Jepsen has given up four runs on six hits and four walks in eight one-inning appearances this spring, but Scioscia believes that line isn't indicative of where Jepsen is, saying: "His stuff is coming out hot, he's doing some things that are going to make him more pitch-efficient and he's throwing the ball very well."

The other relievers still in camp are Trevor Bell (3.72 ERA in 9 2/3 innings), Francisco Rodriguez (3.12 ERA in 8 2/3 innings) and Rich Thompson (2.25 ERA in eight innings). Of that group, only Thompson is out of options.

Kohn, who has hurled five scoreless one-inning appearances this spring, is expected to stay away from throwing for the rest of the week. Cassevah was expected to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, but he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game and probably won't start the season with the club.

"He's obviously behind on where we wanted him, but we'll see how he progresses," Scioscia said. "Right now, it's doubtful he's going to be ready at the start of the season, but hopefully he'll be ready shortly after that."