Scioscia knows help is on the way

Scioscia knows help is on the way

ANAHEIM -- When right-hander Matt Palmer toes the rubber for the Angels against the Tigers on Thursday, he'll already be the Angels' seventh starter this season in 15 games, matching last year's total through 162 games.

And when the Angels recall another starter for Saturday's game against the Mariners, it will match the most starters the Angels have used in any of manager Mike Scioscia's five playoff seasons.

But Scioscia still isn't concerned with his pitching depth, because he's confident that injured starters Dustin Moseley, Ervin Santana and John Lackey will be ready by early May and that Kelvim Escobar will be ready by June.

For now, Scioscia is confident that the young pitchers recalled this week will be able to patch up the holes in the rotation temporarily.

"We expect them to come up here and perform well," Scioscia said. "If they're out on the mound, we want them to play to their capabilities.

"There's a lot of young guys that have trouble bringing their game to the big league level, but we need them to pitch their game. And that's why Palmer is an option with his Major League experience."

Palmer does have three games of big league experience that came last year, but he struggled with the Giants, going 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA.

The 30-year-old did pitch well in his second big league start against the Marlins on Aug. 21, tossing six innings while allowing two runs on six hits.

The Angels would love to see a start like that from Palmer against a Tigers' vaunted lineup that features sluggers such as Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson and Carlos Guillen.

But the Angels will also need to get run from an offensive unit that has struggled to score runs early in the season, especially with Vladimir Guerrero out indefinitely with a torn pectoral muscle.

Now new addition Bobby Abreu is the engine that makes it go for the Angels as both an on-base machine as well as a run-producer.

"Bobby Abreu is a guy that can set the table but also has the ability to drive in 100 runs, so you want to set the table for him," Scioscia said. "Right now, I think that we're trying to get three guys ahead of him that can get on base."

So far Scioscia has tinkered with the players that hit in front of Abreu, with Figgins as the leadoff hitter usually followed by Howie Kendrick and Maicer Izturis.

Kendrick, though, has struggled his season by just batting .196 with 12 strikeouts in 58 at-bats. He sat out Wednesday in an effort to get him out of his 2-for-24 slump.

And Izturis is hardly a prototypical third batter because of his lack of power, but Scioscia likes his situational hitting, as Izturis is a career .330 hitter with runners in scoring position.

But no matter who is hitting in front of him, Abreu has certainly been comfortable so far with the Angels, as he is leading the team in batting average and is tied for first in the American League with seven stolen bases despite being 35 years old.

"I'm feeling good," Abreu said. "I'm happy to be a part of this club, but I'm just trying to do my thing without changing anything."

Pitching matchup
LAA: RHP Matt Palmer (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Palmer will be recalled Thursday from Triple-A to face the Tigers in his fourth-career Major League start. Palmer went 0-2 with an 8.33 ERA for the Giants last season and was 1-1 with a 11.74 ERA in two Minor League starts this season. Even though he's struggled at the Major League level, Angels manager Mike Scioscia liked what he saw from Palmer in Spring Training and called him the club's "best short-term option" with Darren Oliver moving back to the bullpen.

DET: RHP Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.14 ERA)
Jackson is coming off an outstanding outing on Saturday against the Mariners in Seattle in which he went 7 2/3 innings, allowing no runs and five hits. Jackson kept the Mariners off-balance with offspeed pitches behind his mid-90s fastball and stuck out six. He is becoming the pitcher the Tigers hoped he would be when they traded for him during the offseason. Jackson allowed four runs over seven innings for the win in his only start against the Angels last season.

Right-handers John Lackey and Ervin Santana will head to Arizona this weekend to begin their rehab assignments in extended Spring Training. Lackey is scheduled to pitch on Friday and Santana is scheduled to pitch on Saturday, with both expected to throw about 30 pitches or two innings. ... Wednesday marked the first time that an Angels starter allowed more than four runs this season. It broke a streak of 13 games to start the season, which was the longest such streak since the 1982 Angels did it through 19 games. ... The Angels celebrated Earth Day on Wednesday by giving out an Angels banner made of recycled materials to fans as well as vendors showcasing environmentally responsible products and services. Fans who brought in any recyclable item received a free gift such as Angels tickets, movie passes, coupons or other sponsor-donated items. ... The Angels are expected to announce Saturday's starter against the Mariners on Friday.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KLAA 830, KFWB, KWKW 1330 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Angels (Shane Loux, 0-1, 3.65) vs. Mariners (Erik Bedard, 1-1, 1.86), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Angels (TBD) vs. Mariners (Carlos Silva, 0-2, 6.35), 6:05 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Angels (Jered Weaver, 1-1, 3.38) vs. Mariners (Jarrod Washburn, 3-0, 1.71), 12:35 p.m. PT

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.