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Angels strip Jordan Walden of closing duties, give job to Scott Downs

Apr 27, 2012, 5:24 PM EDT

Jordan Walden AP

One blown save was all it took for Jordan Walden to lose the Angels’ closer job.

After saving 32 games as a rookie last season Walden didn’t get his first save opportunity until April 20 this year. He converted it, but then coughed up two runs yesterday to blow his second save chance.

And today the Angels announced that he’s been demoted to a seventh- and eighth-inning role with left-hander Scott Downs taking over as closer, although manager Mike Scioscia left open the possibility that the move is temporary.

Scioscia told reporters that Walden “needs to work on things in situations where the game can’t be won or lost on one pitch.”

Walden certainly hasn’t pitched well in the early going, but that seems like a pretty strong reaction to a closer allowing runs in just two of his six outings and it’ll be plenty easy for him to win or lose games on one pitch working a high-leverage setup role too. Of course, pretty strong reactions tend to happen when an expected World Series contender begins the season 6-13 even if Walden took just one of those losses.

Last year right around this time it was Walden who supplanted a struggling Fernando Rodney as the Angels’ closer and the hard-throwing 24-year-old right-hander has a 3.15 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 80 career innings.

  1. pjmitch - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    We are all only as good as our last performance!

  2. foreverchipper10 - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    His ERA is over 8 and his WHIP is over 2 as well. That probably helped.

  3. Spiro Agnew - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Haha the title says “hand job”

    • icanspeel - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      Don’t forget strip is included with hand job

    • seanthegreatest - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      “Hand job to Scott Downs”. Does Walden have to perform this task?

      • seanthegreatest - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:54 PM

        Give job doesn’t have the same ring to it Aaron!

      • mgv38 - Apr 27, 2012 at 8:33 PM

        He’s probably blow it. Um, wait a minute . . . .

  4. casey5jones - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Third closer for my fantasy team as a free agent pick up this year thanks to HBT. Thanks, Aaron.

  5. bananalaundry - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Does the new CBA allow ownership to just wantonly strip away hand jobs? Downs needs to contact his union rep.

  6. racksie - Apr 27, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    All that’s left now is to get Torii’s stamp[ of approval and it becomes official.

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