Fuentes to get Class A tuneup on Monday
Four-time All-Star closer eligible to come off DL Wednesday
TORONTO -- Angels closer Brian Fuentes, eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday when the Angels face the Tigers at Angel Stadium, is expected to get a Class A California League tuneup for Rancho California on Monday.
Fuentes had a bullpen session go well on Friday at Rogers Centre, his first mound work in a week, and feels he'll be ready to reclaim his ninth-inning role assuming all goes well in his tuneup.
"Fuentes came out good yesterday," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're looking to a rehab game Monday, see how that goes. He needs to get off a mound and pitch."
The Major League leader in saves last season with 48, Fuentes worked a perfect ninth against the Twins, striking out one man, in the season opener, saving it for Jered Weaver.
The following day, he felt stiffness mid-back on the left side in the weight room handling a dumbbell. He went on the DL retroactive to April 6 when the pain wouldn't subside, but he said he's feeling no discomfort in the area now and is satisfied that he's on target to return Wednesday.
Rodney to the rescue in Halos' bullpen
TORONTO -- The Angels have enviable depth in the closer's role with Fernando Rodney showing all the right stuff in his two finishing jobs with Brian Fuentes on the disabled list with back stiffness.
Rodney has saved the past two Angels' wins, Wednesday in New York and Friday night at Rogers Centre, facing the minimum three batters on each occasion.
Counting last season, when he blew only one save in 38 opportunities for Detroit, and the end of the '08 season, Rodney is 42 for his past 43 in save situations. Over the past two seasons, he has a 2.66 ERA in save situations, 6.69 in non-save efforts.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia is convinced the hard-throwing right-hander can be just as effective setting up for Fuentes as he is closing.
"With most closers that understand the importance of every pitch when a game's on the line," Scioscia said, "that's a focus that brings some guys into their game. It's not only the ninth inning; if he can come in in the seventh inning in a one-run game, I think it's the same [mentality]. Really you have three closers."
By that he meant the final three innings. In Scot Shields, Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger, the Angels have three other relievers with experience in late-game situations. Shields has had a rocky start in four appearances (10.21 ERA) but feels his stuff is close to premium quality and it's just a matter of finding his razor-sharp command.
Abreu earns a rare day off for Halos
TORONTO -- Keenly aware of the toll artificial turf can take on a veteran player's body, Angels manager Mike Scioscia gave Bobby Abreu Saturday off, replacing him in right field with Reggie Willits against Jays lefty Brian Tallet.
Abreu delivered a key RBI single in Friday night's 7-5 win and has seven RBIs in the past four games, including a grand slam at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
Willits is making his second start, having gone 0-for-2 with two walks in his season debut on Thursday night in New York.
"We're giving him a break from the turf," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Abreu, who started the season's first 11 games. "He's been playing a lot."
If he appears in at least 150 games this season, Abreu will tie Willie Mays' all-time record with 13 consecutive seasons reaching that number. He's tied with Cal Ripken Jr., Pete Rose and Billy Williams with 12 seasons with 150-plus games played.
Kendrick gets a No. 2 shot on Saturday
TORONTO -- With Bobby Abreu taking a day off Saturday, Howard Kendrick was elevated from the bottom third of the order to the No. 2 spot. It's temporary, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
"Bobby will be back in the 2 hole [Sunday]," Scioscia said. "Howie's real comfortable. You have Howie hitting seventh, it gives you a deep look."
Showing how comfortable he was back in the No. 2 spot, Kendrick launched his first homer of the year after an Erick Aybar walk leading off against Jays starter Brian Tallet. It landed in the seats in left-center on a 1-1 delivery.
Kendrick batted second 12 times last season. He was primarily a No. 3 and No. 2 hitter in the Minor Leagues, usually slotted behind Aybar and/or Reggie Willits.
Just like those early days, Aybar was batting first, right after Willits, on Saturday. Aybar has flourished thus far replacing Chone Figgins as the leadoff man with his .391 on-base percentage, batting .300. Aybar led the club last year with his .312 batting average and had a .353 OBP.
"He's doing some things in the leadoff spot, setting the table the way we need done," Scioscia said. "From what he did last year, he's carrying it over to this year."
TORONTO -- Angels pitchers lead the Majors in homers surrendered (20) while their hitters have produced 12. The starters have given up 16 compared to six by the opposing clubs' starters. ... The Angels are trying to reclaim their road warriors' mentality. They tied the Phillies for most road wins (48) last season and led the Majors in 2008 with 50. ... Lightning-quick Peter Bourjos banged three triples along with a single for Triple-A Salt Lake in a 13-11 loss to Tacoma on Friday night. Cory Aldridge, who smoked the ball all spring, unloaded a three-run homer for the Bees. Catcher Hank Conger, who homered twice on Thursday, added two more hits, hiking his average to .300, and outfielder Michael Ryan, who also had a great spring, raised his average to .407 with a pair of hits. ... At Double-A Arkansas, shortstop Andrew Romine continued to dazzle, lifting his batting average to .357 and on-base percentage to .486 with two hits and a walk in a 3-0 win over Midland. Jordan Walden saved it for Jeremy Thorne (6 2/3 scoreless innings) by striking out the side after Ryan Aldridge had fanned three in 1 1/3 setup innings.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.