Downs, Walden near returns to bullpen

Downs, Walden near returns to bullpen

ANAHEIM -- Angels lefty reliever Scott Downs, out since July 27 with a strained left shoulder, felt good coming off his first bullpen session on Sunday and is set for another one on Tuesday.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that session "might roll into a simulated game," which would make him awfully close to returning to the Angels' beleaguered bullpen. Scioscia previously said he doesn't believe Downs will need to go out on a rehab assignment.

Jordan Walden, sidelined since July 8 with injuries to his neck and right biceps, will pitch in his second rehab game for Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday night -- two days after giving up four runs (two earned) in two-thirds of an inning.

Asked if this could be his last tuneup before rejoining the team, Scioscia said: "We're going to see. The last one was good, but showed he needed more work. This one, we're going to evaluate the same way and see where he is."

Since the start of July, the Angels' bullpen has a 5.22 ERA, which is by far the highest in the American League.