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Scioscia to lighten Frieri's load in ninth inning

Scioscia to lighten Frieri's load in ninth inning

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Scioscia to lighten Frieri's load in ninth inning

ARLINGTON -- Ernesto Frieri struggled in his past three appearances, and now the Angels will essentially go with a closer by committee. But as Mike Scioscia emphasized prior to Wednesday's series finale from Rangers Ballpark: "He's got to be part of the closing solution that we have."

Scioscia could go to Nick Maronde -- his only lefty, with Scott Downs traded and Sean Burnett out for the year -- against left-handed hitters in the ninth, and perhaps use the likes of Dane De La Rosa, Kevin Jepsen and Michael Kohn if the numbers are in their favor.

"How we take some of the burden off [Frieri] getting the last couple outs could change on a given night," Scioscia said, "but Ernie is part of the solution."

Frieri is coming off back-to-back blown saves, giving up two ninth-inning solo homers in Monday's walk-off loss -- to A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto -- and surrendering a two-out, game-tying single to Adrian Beltre in Tuesday's 14-11 defeat in 10 innings.

Over his last three outings, Frieri has retired only six of the 20 batters he's faced, his ERA climbing to 4.20.

Asked Tuesday night about having to share the ninth inning, the 28-year-old right-hander said: "Whatever decision they make, I have to accept that. We need to win. We can't be losing games late. Hopefully I get through this and they give me the confidence again."

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.

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