KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Billy Buckner discovered just how tough the baseball business is on Sunday when the Angels right-hander was designated for assignment one day after throwing five shutout innings in a 7-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
“I understand it,” said Buckner, the 21st pitcher, and 10th starter, the Angels have used this season. “They have a lot of guys coming off the disabled list. Someone has to go.”
More will follow. Buckner was replaced on the roster Sunday by reliever Kevin Jepsen, who was activated after missing six weeks because of a strained shoulder.
Manager Mike Scioscia said ace Jered Weaver, out since April because of a broken left (non-throwing) elbow, will return this week, most likely Thursday night against the Dodgers.
And Tommy Hanson, on the restricted list since May 10 while he deals with the aftermath of the death of his 24-year-old stepbrother, threw a five-inning, 75-pitch simulated game in Arizona on Saturday and could return next weekend.
That means one current starter -- Jerome Williams or Joe Blanton -- will be bumped to the bullpen and at least two current relievers among a group that includes Mark Lowe, Michael Kohn, Garrett Richards, Dane De La Rosa and Robert Coello will be removed from the roster.
“We haven’t had many tough decisions leading up to this,” Scioscia said. “It points to the re-establishment of some depth that we need, and I think it’s going to continue through this week.
“We have some tough decisions. We have some guys coming back that are important to us, and although it might be tough on some individuals, it’s good for us as an organization and puts us in a much better position.”
Buckner said he is open to returning to the Angels’ triple-A team at Salt Lake, but he would have to clear waivers before such a move. The Angels could also trade him over the next 10 days.
“All I can do is pitch the best I can when I have the opportunity, and hopefully these guys realize that if they need someone from Salt Lake, I can fill in,” Buckner said. “I really like this organization. I like the staff here and in Salt Lake, so it would be an easy transition to try to work something out with them.”
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