ANAHEIM -- For a moment, at least, it looked like this could be the end of the road for Jason Isringhausen. Given his recent struggles, the need to create room on the roster for Jordan Walden and Isringhausen's reluctance to go down to the Minor Leagues, it looked like the Angels' corresponding move for Walden's activation could result in the end of Isringhausen's stint with the team -- and possibly his career.
Instead, the Angels optioned veteran lefty Hisanori Takahashi to Triple-A Salt Lake for the second time this season on Sunday. The move leaves them with only one lefty in the bullpen (Scott Downs), but Takahashi has had an even worse season -- posting a 4.93 ERA in 42 innings -- than Isringhausen, and sending him down allows the Angels to maximize their pitching depth.
At the latest, he'll return when rosters expand at the start of September.
"We're not going to go past 12 pitchers right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We have a day off, and we're going to be expanding in less than two weeks."
Designating Isringhausen for assignment seemed like a distinct possibility -- one the 39-year-old right-hander no doubt realized given how it's gone the last few weeks. He sported a 1.73 ERA on June 22, but has been charged with 13 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings since, putting his ERA on the year at 3.92.
Over his last three one-inning stints, Isringhausen has given up five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks.
"I've been falling behind hitters; control," he said. "Every year I hit a rough stretch, and this is my stretch of pitching poorly. It's mainly got to do with falling behind. I don't care if the hitter's hitting .200 or .350. If you get behind 2-0, and you don't throw 95, 96 [mph] anymore, you don't have the stuff to get a lot of swings and misses. So, I have to get ahead of hitters and make them hit my pitch. I know that, everybody knows that. That's the art of pitching."