OAKLAND -- Where would the Angels' bullpen be without Dane De La Rosa?
It's a question nobody expected to be asking heading into the season. But nearly one full month in, with six arms already called up from the Minors and only three members of the Opening Day 'pen currently available as relievers, De La Rosa has provided a big lift to a relief corps that has been decimated by injuries at a time when it's had to take on a big workload.
De La Rosa, the 6-foot-7 right-hander acquired from the Rays for Steven Geltz in late March, has appeared in eight of the Angels' last 12 games heading into Monday, giving up only two runs in eight innings while pitching effectively in tight situations. If he would have appeared Sunday -- a game in which he warmed up in the bullpen -- it would have marked three straight games, and six of the past eight.
"It's a great opportunity," the 30-year-old De La Rosa said before a rare hiccup in Monday's eighth inning, which saw him give up a walk and a two-run single. "It's nothing I'm not used to. I've been doing this for pretty much the last three years in Triple-A and Double-A. I don't mind it at all. It's helping us out, so it's all good."
De La Rosa, a 24th-round Draft pick by the Yankees in 2002, racked up only 15 Major League appearances with the Rays the previous two years, getting charged with 15 runs in 12 1/3 innings. But he racked up 155 appearances in the Minors from 2010-12, posting a 2.65 ERA in 214 innings.
Now, with Sean Burnett (left forearm irritation), Kevin Jepsen (right shoulder strain) and Mark Lowe (neck strain) on the disabled list and Garrett Richards in the rotation, he's become the No. 2 right-hander in the Angels' bullpen behind closer Ernesto Frieri.
"It has to be somebody," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need the arms down there to hold leads, and right now Dane is really making a statement that he belongs in the big leagues."
Bourjos, Jimenez exit game with injuries
OAKLAND -- The Angels didn't just lose a tough game on Monday night -- they lost their center fielder, and possibly their fill-in third baseman.
Peter Bourjos hurt his left hamstring while legging out a sacrifice bunt in the top of the 11th of an eventual 10-8, 19-inning loss to the A's and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strain in the muscle.
Bourjos was "sore" postgame, but said he had no idea how long the injury would keep him out.
"It grabbed pretty good the minute I hit the bag, so I knew I pulled it," said Bourjos, who hobbled back to the dugout and was replaced by J.B. Shuck. "Hopefully it's not that long. I don't know at this point."
Luis Jimenez also left the game early with a bruise on his left shin, which he suffered while getting hit by a throw on an eventual infield single in the fifth. Jimenez played three more innings, then came out of the game and Angels manager Mike Scioscia said postgame that he was "pretty stiff," likely keeping him out of the lineup for at least Tuesday's game.
Shortstop Erick Aybar, who went 2-for-5 with a homer and a double for Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday, is expected to be activated off the disabled list prior to Tuesday's game, thus taking Bourjos' roster spot. But after using seven relievers for 12 2/3 innings on Monday night, Scioscia said they "have a lot of things on our plate right now" with regards to potential roster moves.
Bourjos, who missed 11 games because of tightness in his right hamstring in July of 2011, was batting .405 in his past 11 games -- all of which came from the leadoff spot.
"It sucks any time you get hurt, but especially when you're swinging the bat well and feel good at the plate," Bourjos said. "You don't want to have anything keep you out of the lineup. This is pretty frustrating."
Wilson applauds NBA's Collins for coming out
OAKLAND -- Three short, simple, straight-to-the-point sentences from Jason Collins gripped the entire sports landscape on Monday: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."
That was the lede to a story Collins wrote for Sports Illustrated, making him the first active player in a major American sport to announce he's homosexual.
C.J. Wilson's reaction echoed what the vast majority of players said throughout baseball.
"It's very courageous of him to come out," the Angels' starter said. "My biggest concern was the social ramifications, for friends and family and teammates and stuff like that. But he addressed that - pretty well, I think. It was a very articulate article. I read it. It'd just be interesting to see if a team picks him up."
Collins, a 15-year veteran who suited up for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards during the 2012-13 season and is currently a free agent, was very candid in the 3,000-word article, co-written by Franz Lidz. He talked about wanting to come out during the 2011 NBA Lockout, admitted he had no intention of becoming a pioneer, addressed religion and the Supreme Court, and basically expressed how tired he was of hiding from the truth.
"You know what was really sad about the whole thing? Reading the comments on that article," Wilson said. "Ignorance. Blazing ignorance. It's just terrible."
Wilson doesn't believe the comments section is a reflection of how athletes, particularly ballplayers, would feel about having a gay teammate. But he can only speak for himself.
"It's just being realistic that there are guys in sports that aren't straight," Wilson said. "If he can play, he can play. If a girl could come out there and throw 100 [mph] and strike everybody out, we wouldn't have a problem with it -- at least I wouldn't.
"It's performance-based. … People have put up with all sorts of differences over the years. Sports is about equality. Anybody should have a chance if they're good enough. That's what it's all about."
Angels miss presence of Aybar, Callaspo
OAKLAND -- The Angels have now been without the left side of their infield for three weeks, with shortstop Erick Aybar out since April 9 with a bruised left heel and third baseman Alberto Callaspo sidelined since April 11 with a strain in his right calf. And though they may not be the biggest names on the Angels' roster, they're among the most crucial.
"They're huge in our lineup," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Those two guys are huge, for the balance aspect of obviously being switch-hitters and being able to get a nice lineup flow, to the offensive production they bring. They're important for us, that's for sure, and we're looking forward to getting them in the lineup, get them productive and hopefully get that offensive chemistry going."
Aybar played in three extended Spring Training games in Arizona last week, then went 2-for-5 in his first -- and perhaps only -- rehab game for Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Callaspo, meanwhile, had what Scioscia deemed a "great workout" in Oakland before Monday's game and will start for Class A Inland Empire on Tuesday.
The Angels are "still going day-by-day" with regards to how many rehab games Callaspo and Aybar will need, but a return for the weekend home series against the Orioles seems likely. In their absence, Luis Jimenez -- 5-for-his-last-33 after a hot start -- has started at third base, with Brendan Harris getting the majority of the playing time at shortstop.
Asked if Aybar would replace the surging Peter Bourjos in the leadoff spot when activated, Scioscia said, "Peter's starting to move forward, so we'll have some things to look at. I would imagine we want to get these guys [Aybar and Callaspo] some Major League playing time before we reshuffle a lot of the lineup. But we'll look at it."
• The Angels games on Tuesday and Friday, both 7 p.m. PT start times, will be broadcast on KCOP.
• Mark Lowe (left neck strain) is slated to join infielder Alberto Callaspo in a rehab appearance for Class A Inland Empire on Tuesday. The right-handed reliever is not eligible to be activated off the disabled list until May 5.
• Manager Mike Scioscia said he's thought about putting Mark Trumbo in the cleanup spot on a more frequent basis, but prefers to stay with a platoon for now, with Trumbo fourth against lefties and Hamilton there against righties. The Angels will have seen eight straight right-handed starters before lefty Tommy Milone takes the mound for the A's on Wednesday.
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.