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Angels not going with one defined closer

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CLEVELAND -- Mike Scioscia's closer has gone from Ernesto Frieri to Joe Smith to both to anybody's guess.

In Thursday's 10th inning, it was basically Cam Bedrosian, until he loaded the bases with one out and Frieri served up the walk-off grand slam to Nick Swisher in the Angels' 5-3 loss to the Indians.

"I don't think it's any different from what we talked about," Scioscia said when asked if Frieri is his closer. "What's different from matching up like we talked about?"

The major difference, of course, is that Bedrosian was used. That was partly because Smith had already pitched the ninth inning, but Scioscia's decision to initially go with a 22-year-old rookie -- one with electric stuff, but who also had given up six runs in 5 1/3 innings heading in -- was a strong indication that he's shying away from Frieri again.

"For Cam, it's an opportunity," Scioscia said. "He's got great stuff, and he just missed with some pitches today. I think that where we were, we felt very confident that Cam was going to make his pitches."

Frieri was temporarily demoted from the closer's role after giving up 12 runs in a 4 2/3-inning stretch from July 23 to Aug. 6 of last year, then suffered the same fate when he gave up four runs in the ninth inning in Washington on April 23.

The 28-year-old right-hander posted a 1.17 ERA over his next 15 appearances, but has been charged with eight earned runs in his last seven games -- a stretch that includes blowing a four-run lead in Atlanta on Saturday -- and now has a 5.83 ERA.

After Thursday's game, several Angels players, including Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, tried to console the dejected closer.

"I'm fighting, man," Frieri said. "I've been working, watching videos, asking questions. It seems like nothing goes my way. I'm trying to do my stuff. I go in with a positive mentality, go out there, try to help the team, and for some reason, everything goes wrong. I miss one pitch, in every outing I got hurt. A couple years ago, I missed a couple pitches over the middle, nothing happened. Now? Crazy. It's a little bit frustrating."

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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