OAKLAND -- Late-game bullpen help could be on the way for the Angels in a familiar form. Jose Arredondo might be ready to put himself back in position to fulfill one of the setup roles in front of closer Brian Fuentes.
Arredondo, recovering from right elbow inflammation that surfaced after he was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake on June 10, returned with a flourish on Thursday night for the Bees in a Pacific Coast League game against Portland.
Arredondo struck out two of the five men he faced, allowing one hit and no runs. The report that reached the desk of Angels manager Mike Scioscia was highly encouraging.
"Arredondo had what we heard was the best stuff he's had this year -- 94 [mph], good slider, good split," Scioscia said. "He had real good stuff. It looked like Jose took a step forward. That's encouraging."
Claiming the seventh-inning role in front of Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez last season, Arredondo was a revelation, finishing 10-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 52 appearances, striking out 55 hitters and walking 22 in 61 innings.
But he struggled to find his form this season, and when he was sent to Salt Lake, he was 1-3 with a 5.55 ERA in 25 games. He was still striking hitters out -- 27 in 24 1/3 innings -- but was getting hit, yielding a .298 opponents batting average.
"He was out of sync," Scoscia said. "When he got down there [in Triple-A] his elbow got inflamed."
The Angels have been using a setup crew by committee in the absence of Shields (out for the season with knee surgery) and Arredondo. Darren Oliver, Justin Speier, Matt Palmer, Jason Bulger and Kevin Jepsen have been taking turns handling the seventh and eighth innings.
General manager Tony Reagins has been engaged in conversations with a variety of teams with the possibility of acquiring late-inning relief. But a return to form by Arredondo -- 25 years old with a power arm -- could help solve that issue internally.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.