To take his spot on the roster, outfielder Kole Calhoun was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake.
It's not known how long Downs will be away from the team, but a player on the family medical emergency list must miss a minimum of three games and a maximum of seven. That means Downs will miss the entire three-game home series against the Red Sox and could be away until Sept. 4, at the latest. Previously called the bereavement list, the family medical emergency list was implemented into the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to allow players to depart from the team without experiencing a death in their families.
Downs, who remains on the Angels' 40-man roster, flew back to his Kentucky home on Sunday night. His return is still up in the air, but he didn't experience a death in his family.
"Right now we're not sure [when Downs will return]," said manager Mike Scioscia, who didn't want to go into details about his situation. "Hopefully as a little time goes on we'll get a little more clarity as to what Scott's situation is."
Downs, who was on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder from July 30 to Aug. 18, has a 3.08 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 38 innings this season. In the second half, as the Angels' bullpen has struggled mightily as a whole, the 36-year-old has been charged with 12 earned runs on 15 hits and seven walks in eight innings.
Angels relievers lead the Majors with a 7.17 ERA and eight blown saves in August. The temporary loss of Downs leaves them with no lefties in the 'pen, since the Pirates claimed their other veteran lefty, Hisanori Takahashi, off waivers on Friday.
The Red Sox, at least, are without lefty sluggers David Ortiz (on the disabled list with an Achilles injury) and Adrian Gonzalez (traded to the Dodgers last week).
"That's a couple of big bats that you're not worried about matching up with," Scioscia said. "Not to minimize what Scott's absence means. We need him in our bullpen, but hopefully we can absorb it short-term."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.