OAKLAND -- Bobby Cassevah had a prominent late-inning role with the Angels last season. Now, he's back with the team, initially only because Mike Scioscia needed an extra arm after a taxing 13-inning game on Sunday.
But with the club designating David Pauley for assignment, Cassevah may get time to prove he's back to being the reliable sinkerballer of last year.
"As long as you get outs and throw strikes," Cassevah said. "I think I'm up here for good, but you never know. I can get up here and start walking guys and I'm down in Triple-A tomorrow."
Cassevah began the year on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and was inconsistent in the Minors, compiling a 5.29 ERA, a 1.71 WHIP and a 1.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 innings at Class A and Triple-A.
The 26-year-old didn't feel like his release point was right early on, which didn't give him much feel for his sinker and led to walks. But he was encouraged by his last three one-inning appearances for Triple-A Salt Lake, when he didn't walk anyone, gave up just one hit and struck out four.
"I had some kinks I needed to work out," Cassevah said. "Everything wasn't really consistent with my fastball and off-speed stuff. I had to get more work in, and everything's good to go now."
"Last year, he had a terrific season for us," Scioscia added. "There's nothing that says that kind of arm won't move to the back of the bullpen as depth and be able to pitch, whether it's the seventh, eighth or ninth inning, whatever. We'll just see how it evolves."
Torii away from team at least through weekend
OAKLAND -- Veteran outfielder Torii Hunter, on the restricted list since May 14 to deal with a personal matter, won't be joining the Angels on their current road trip, after all. Instead, manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday, Hunter will "probably" return during the Angels' homestand next week.
"It's still open-ended," said Scioscia, who hopes to have him back for the three-game series against the Yankees that runs Monday through Wednesday. "Where as we talked last week, and we thought that he was going to join us on the road trip, it's going to take a couple days after that. But what day exactly it's going to be, we're not exactly sure right now."
Hunter is still in Texas, alongside his 17-year-old son, Darius McClinton-Hunter, who's fighting a sexual-assault charge. Scioscia said he's been staying in shape back home, where he also has a batting cage, but will need at least a day of working out in front of the coaching staff in Anaheim before being re-inserted in the lineup.
Wednesday's series finale against the A's at Oakland Coliseum marked the 10th game Hunter was absent for, with Mark Trumbo getting the bulk of the playing time in right field. Without him, and with Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) on the disabled list, the Angels are thin in their outfield and without one of their middle-of-the-order bats.
Perhaps equally important, they're without by far their biggest clubhouse presence.
"He's an outstanding leader," Trumbo said. "He's very consistent, whether he's getting the results he wants or not. That's one thing I really admire about him, his constant level of energy, upbeat, positive flow.
"Good team guys can be undervalued. You hear about guys around the league who are great clubhouse guys, and his name is definitely at the top of the list. And it's well-deserved."
Indirectly, Hunter's absence has provided the Angels with a taste of what it will be like when he's gone, which -- considering he's in the final year of his contract and the Angels have some young outfielders they need to make room for -- could very well be this offseason. When Hunter does depart, somebody else, or a group of others, will need to fill the leadership void.
At this moment, though, the Angels have gone out of their way to publicly say Hunter, who's batting .256 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 33 games, needs to take his time.
Family first, everything else second.
"I'm pretty sure he wants to be here, but I think as a strong Christian guy that he is, he knows family comes first, before this game," Angels first baseman Albert Pujols said. "He needs to take care of his family matters before anything, and then adjust to the game whenever that time comes. He's a great leader, great guy in the clubhouse, and he's not here for a reason. We wish he would be here, but at the same time, he needs to take care of his family side, which is different."
Pauley the odd man out of Angels bullpen
OAKLAND -- Though the team has not yet made it official, the Angels were planning to designate right-handed reliever David Pauley for assignment on Wednesday night or Thursday and call up infielder Andrew Romine from Triple-A Salt Lake.
The organization will have 10 days to trade Pauley, release him or try to pass him through waivers. If he isn't claimed, the team can send him to Salt Lake.
A bullpen move was expected, as the Angels have been carrying 13 pitchers out of necessity after their 13-inning game last Sunday. Manager Mike Scioscia said on Wednesday that the team was "approaching the point" where it wouldn't need the extra eighth reliever.
Pauley (4.82 ERA in 9 1/3 innings this season) was one of the candidates to go, along with fellow right-handers David Carpenter and Bobby Cassevah.
Romine is hitting .312 in 157 at-bats for Salt Lake this season, to go along with two home runs and 17 RBIs. He split last season between Triple-A and Los Angeles, playing 10 games with the Angels.
Day after HBP, Aybar out of starting lineup
OAKLAND -- Angels shortstop Erick Aybar was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday afternoon, mere hours after exiting Tuesday night's game with a knee injury.
Aybar, who left in the seventh inning after taking a fastball to his right knee from A's reliever Jim Miller, was diagnosed with a bruise postgame and listed as day to day.
Manager Mike Scioscia, who initially expected Aybar to start the series finale at Oakland Coliseum, used Aybar as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning of Wednesday's 11-inning win over the A's. Aybar flied out to center field.
"It's a little sore," Scioscia said before the game. "Looks like soft tissue on the side of his legs. [Head trainer Adam Nevala] thinks he should be available if we need him late for something, but he's going to get some treatment and hopefully we'll be able to stay away from him."
Right fielder Kole Calhoun went 1-for-5 on Wednesday, but the one hit was a big one -- it was his first career Major League hit. Calhoun doubled in the fifth inning off A's starter Jarrod Parker. He made his big league debut on Tuesday night when Scioscia used him as a defensive substitute in right field.
Heading into Wednesday, Pujols had 449 career homers through 1,748 games. The following are the only ones who reached 450 homers in fewer contests: Mark McGwire (1,524), Babe Ruth (1,584), Alex Rodriguez (1,684), Harmon Killebrew (1,713), Sammy Sosa (1,725), Ken Griffey Jr. (1,743) and Manny Ramirez (1,744).
Reliever Ernesto Frieri has struck out 16 batters in 7 2/3 innings, tying Francisco Rodriguez (2003) for the most in Angels history during that span.
Angels pitchers came into Wednesday leading the Majors in shutouts with six. Their offense also led the Majors in being shut out, with eight.
Outfielder Cory Aldridge, who played in five games for the Angels in 2010, was recently signed to a Minor League deal. Aldridge, a 32-year-old left-handed hitter, hit .363 in the Mexican League this year and homered in his first game for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday night.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. Ben Estes is an associate reporter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.