Decision time about Izzy nears for Halos

Decision time about Izzy nears for Halos

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's pretty simple, really. By 9 a.m. PT on Friday, Jason Isringhausen will know whether he's going to pitch for a championship contender or retire.

Under terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Angels will have to pay Isringhausen -- whom they signed to a Minor League contact at the start of camp -- an additional $100,000 to keep him on the team. Chances are, they won't pay him that money if he isn't going to make the Opening Day roster.

Reached shortly after the Angels' 11-8 win over the Royals on Thursday, general manager Jerry Dipoto said the club had not yet made a decision, with Isringhausen's agent expected to speak with the club later Thursday night.

However it ends, Isringhausen will know two things: He isn't going down to the Minor Leagues, and he won't have any regrets.

"I've gotten zeroes when I needed to get zeroes," the 39-year-old right-hander said. "I was working on stuff the other times, and when they wanted me to go out and get people out, I did that. I understand it's a business. They have guys they have to take care of and people out of options, things like that. This is the business part that I won't miss if it's the end of it. But other than that, I'm happy with the way things went."

Isringhausen was hit around on Sunday, giving up three runs and recording only two outs while giving up the lead to the Rangers in the ninth. But he pitched a clean inning against the Reds on Wednesday, then another on Thursday -- getting a broken-bat groundout and two non-threatening flyouts -- with manager Mike Scioscia saying his stuff looked sharper.

"He's getting better," Scioscia said. "The decision will come from Jerry. No doubt, he's getting better. It's just a matter of how comfortable Jerry is moving forward with him."

The Angels could use some added depth in their bullpen, with Michael Kohn (forearm strain) and Bobby Cassevah (labrum tear) expected to start the season on the disabled list. The club sent Francisco Rodriguez to Minor League camp on Thursday, leaving Trevor Bell, Kevin Jepsen, Rich Thompson (out of options) and Isringhausen to compete for three spots.

Is Isringhausen a fit for one of those spots?

Scioscia sounded non-committal after Thursday's game.

"Unfortunately, we don't have as long a look as you'd like to have with him," Scioscia said. "We'll probably have to make a decision a little before we're going to get all the information. But there's no doubt, he's made progress since the first day he got here."

Isringhausen, who weathered three Tommy John surgeries, ranks third on the active list with 300 career saves, and has posted a 3.62 ERA in 15 years in the big leagues.

With the Mets last year, his first full season since his last Tommy John procedure, he impressed before missing almost all of September with a back injury. He pitched 46 2/3 innings while posting a 4.05 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 19 holds and seven saves in 11 chances.

With 300 saves in the bag, Isringhausen wasn't even planning on pitching this year. But, as he said upon first arriving to Angels camp on Feb. 23: "My arm felt good, so I tried to play again."

If the Angels don't decide to pay up, Isringhausen said he's likely to go home to Illinois to be with his wife and two daughters, ages 9 and 2. But he did leave the door slightly open to connect with another team.

"I don't know," Isringhausen said. "It depends on who's that team that might call, who they'd be."

The Angels, coming off a season in which they blew 25 saves, have closer Jordan Walden, right-hander LaTroy Hawkins and two lefties, Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi, as locks in their bullpen.

Isringhausen's preference is to join them.

"I came here to play with these guys, and that's what I'm looking to do," Isringhausen said. "As I said before, I came here to win. They have a great chance of winning, from the top of the lineup to the bottom of the lineup, to the starting staff to the bullpen. I want to be part of it. I want to help any way I can."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.