Halos reliever Smith sidelined by tightness
ANAHEIM -- Angels sidearmer Joe Smith was, in fact, vomiting in the bullpen on Monday night, as manager Mike Scioscia indicated postgame, but that wasn't the reason Smith wasn't used in a save situation of an eventual 4-1 win over the Yankees.
Smith is nursing some tightness in his lower right side, an injury he doesn't deem serious but one that was expected to make him unavailable on Tuesday and also could sideline him on Wednesday.
Smith, who's 3-for-3 in save opportunities and has a 2.77 ERA in 14 appearances, hopes to return by Friday, at the latest. The Angels have an off-day on Thursday, before starting a six-game road trip through Toronto and Philadelphia. In the meantime, Ernesto Frieri -- who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning on Monday in his first save chance since the April 23 outing that got him demoted -- will likely handle the ninth.
"It feels a lot better than it did last night," Smith said of his injury. "Last night, it was pretty tight. This morning, it's a ton better. Hopefully we can use today and try to get it out."
Smith induced the vomiting after an energy bar he ate didn't sit well, then felt the tightness as he began to warm up in the bottom of the eighth. So the Angels instead went to Frieri, who had already been throwing and typically doesn't need more than eight pitches off the bullpen mound to be ready.
"I'm not worried about it," Smith said. "It's just sore. I didn't feel anything pop or tear or anything like that. I'm not expecting it to be more than a couple-days thing."
The bright spot in all this was that Frieri seems to have found his footing again. The 28-year-old right-hander's fastball looked more electric than it has all season, and he used it to record both of his strikeouts. Since being demoted, Frieri has thrown 4 2/3 hitless innings, giving up only a hit by pitch, and striking out four batters.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated on Tuesday that he'll continue to match up in the ninth, but also has stated several times that his optimum bullpen involves having Frieri take over the ninth on a full-time basis so that Smith can match up more freely.
"It stunk not being able to pitch, but it was good to see Ernie get out there," Smith said. "It looked like the old Ernie. That was the positive note. It was awesome."