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Bulger raring to face Red Sox

Bulger raring to face Red Sox

ANAHEIM -- Angels reliever Jason Bulger said he has "no doubt" that he will pitch in the American League Division Series against the Red Sox despite getting a cortisone shot in the front of his throwing shoulder on Sunday.

The right-hander, who received the cortisone shot in Oakland because of shoulder soreness, said he'll be ready to go with Game 1 starting at 6:37 p.m. PT on Thursday at Angel Stadium.

"Everything feels good right now," said Bulger before he played catch on Tuesday at Angel Stadium. "I'm very convinced I'll be ready to go. I have no doubt in my mind."

Bulger has been a big part of the Angels' bullpen this season with a 6-1 record and a 3.56 ERA in 64 relief appearances.

But Bulger missed 10 days in late August after receiving a similar shot in the back of his throwing shoulder so this isn't the first time he's dealt with shoulder fatigue.

Bulger, though, said this one is feeling much better and that he thinks he can return quicker than the last time.

"With a cortisone shot, for a couple of minutes it's sore and a little tight but by the end of the night[on Sunday] it felt pretty good," Bulger said. "And yesterday I was able to rest and let it soak in a little bit. It feels good."

Bulger's health also has a domino effect on how the Angels will use right-hander Ervin Santana, who was relegated to the bullpen for the postseason as the odd man out in the rotation. Manager Mike Scioscia said Santana could fill Bulger's role if he isn't ready to pitch.

"I think depending on where Jason Bulger is as we start the series will have an impact on how we can and will use Ervin," Scioscia said. " He can be anywhere from coming in early in a game if a starter would be struggling, to bridging some of the middle innings to pitching in extra innings."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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