ANAHEIM -- You can forget about easing Scott Downs into his role in the very back end of the Angels' bullpen, even though he was activated Saturday after being out since July 27 with a strained left shoulder.
"I don't know if we have that luxury," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Downs feels good. He's going to go out there and he's going to make pitches, whether he's making them in the seventh inning or eighth inning or ninth inning. We trust his stuff and trust where he is that he'll be able to go get outs."
Downs' return, if he's back to his old self, will provide a huge lift to a bullpen that came into Saturday's game against the Rays with the worst second-half ERA in the Majors (6.04). Despite some second-half struggles, Downs has a 2.57 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP while serving as a critical lefty complement to righty Ernesto Frieri late in games.
On Sunday, hard-throwing right-hander Jordan Walden is expected to join him. Walden, with a 3.86 ERA in 28 innings, has been out since July 8 with injuries to his neck and right biceps, but completed a three-outing rehab assignment for Triple-A Salt Lake and came out of his Friday bullpen session just fine.
The question is, whose spot does he take?
One option could be lefty Hisanori Takahashi, who can be sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Another could be 39-year-old right-hander Jason Isringhausen, who provided a big lift in the first half but has given up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings this month, putting his ERA for the season at 4.02. Isringhausen, who didn't even expect to play this season, won't accept a demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake, even if it means rejoining the team when rosters expand in September.
If it comes to that, he may just retire.
"I will not go down," Isringhausen said. "I've been here too long to go down. ... We'll see what happens. I know it's been a rough couple of weeks, but my workload should say enough that I know I'm healthy and they can throw me out there any time they want. They know that. And I'll pitch any time they want. I don't care what the situation is."
Rookie Steve Geltz was sent down after Friday night's game to make room for Downs.
'02 reunion brings back memories for Trumbo
ANAHEIM -- On Saturday, just as the current team is going through a low point in its championship hopes, the Angels trotted out more than 25 of the players and coaches who were on the 2002 World Series team that brought this city its only baseball championship.
"I think that might be just what the doctor ordered right about now," outfielder Mark Trumbo said with a wry smile.
The reunion will be the culmination of what has been a week-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of that title run.
Few appreciated it more than Trumbo, who was born in Anaheim, grew up in Orange County, Calif., and attended Angels games as a kid, including one game in the '02 American League Division Series against the Yankees.
"I rooted for the Angels," Trumbo said. "I'd watch some Cubs games because they were on in the afternoon, but the Angels were by far my favorite. I came to a ton of games. I sat down the right-field line and watched Tim Salmon. That was it. That was me."
Trumbo was 16 when the Angels became the Cinderella team of baseball 10 years ago, using several heroics -- Salmon's eighth-inning Game 2 homer, Scott Spiezio's Game 6 homer and Garret Anderson's Game 7 three-run double among them -- to edge Barry Bonds' Giants in seven Fall Classic games.
"It was incredible. It was awesome," Trumbo said. "We celebrated a little bit and just took it all in. Maybe tried to imagine a little bit what it might be like to re-create some of those memories myself."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.