Tropeano activated, then optioned to Triple-A

Tropeano activated, then optioned to Triple-A

ANAHEIM -- The Angels avoided a potential starting pitching quandary Friday, activating right-hander Nick Tropeano from the 15-day DL and optioning him to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Tropeano, who was nursing a tight right shoulder, gave up five runs (three earned) in five-plus innings with Class A Advanced Inland Empire in a Minor League rehab start on Thursday. It was his first rehab start since being put on the DL on June 3.

Manager Mike Scioscia said Tropeano came out of his rehab start well and is healthy, adding that he wants to keep his current big league rotation as is for at least the next cycle.

Right-hander Tim Lincecum has joined the rotation since Tropeano's injury, with Jered Weaver, Hector Santiago, Jhoulys Chacin and Matt Shoemaker rounding out the starting staff. Of the six guys vying for the five spots, Tropeano was the only one with Minor League options.

Tropeano, who is 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 10 starts this season, was in the clubhouse before Friday's game against Oakland, but declined to comment.

"I don't think anyone who is optioned down is pleased," Scioscia said. "Nick's a competitor, and he wants to come up here and wants to make footprints in the big leagues. We all feel he will."

Tropeano has been one of the more consistent starters for the Angels this season, posting the lowest ERA of any starter on the team and giving up three or fewer runs in all but two starts. His biggest issue has been pitch efficiency, which something that looked to be turning around before he went down with the injury.

The rotation itself has dealt with many injuries this season. Even with Tropeano off the injury list, they are still without Garrett Richards (elbow), Andrew Heaney, (elbow), C.J. Wilson (shoulder) and Tyler Skaggs (shoulder). As a result, they've struggled to find consistency.

"Every team has injuries," Scioscia said. "I think you're making a big mistake to think 'What if?' You have to look at what's here. I hope that our rotation will continue to grow as we move forward."

Their best pitcher of late has been Shoemaker, who has lowered his ERA from 8.49 to 4.43 in seven starts since May 16. But after him, it's been a muddle of mixed results. As a whole, the rotation has posted a 4.68 ERA going into Friday's game.

"All the guys we're talking about have pitched some really good games for us, and they've struggled," Scioscia said. "In this process, we want to give everyone that's here the chance to put their best foot forward and see where they are. At some point, we'll obviously have to make decisions."

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.