ANAHEIM -- Despite the acquisition of Zack Greinke and the presence of Garrett Richards, struggling starter Ervin Santana will maintain his spot in the Angels' rotation.
For now, at least.
Santana will start the series opener against the Rangers on Monday, sandwiched between Greinke's Angels debut on Sunday and Jered Weaver's turn on Tuesday. To clear a spot for Greinke on the active roster, the Angels optioned veteran Hisanori Takahashi to Triple-A Salt Lake, though manager Mike Scioscia doesn't expect him to stay down there very long.
The move temporarily leaves the Angels with only one lefty in the bullpen (Scott Downs), but gives them a stretched-out starter on the roster while they, as Scioscia said, "evaluate some things" in the next few days. Had Richards been sent down, they would've had to wait at least 10 days to bring him back up.
"We'll get some clarity here in the next couple of days," Scioscia said, clearly referring at least partly to Santana. "We just need to keep those starters around right now."
Santana has struggled to a 6.00 ERA, has given up 23 homers in 19 starts and, seven days ago, gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings to the same Rangers team he'll face on Monday, this time in Arlington.
In hopes of allowing him to be more aggressive early in the game, Scioscia will be sticking to his 15-out limit with Santana.
It could be his last chance to stay in the rotation.
"Ervin's a guy that needs to go out and pitch," the Angels' skipper said. "We've already pushed him back. He's throwing bullpens. He needs to go out and pitch."