Angels release Alfonzo, call up Bulger from Triple-A

LOS ANGELES -- The struggling Los Angeles Angels placed
veteran infielder Edgardo Alfonzo on waivers Saturday for the
purpose of giving him his unconditional release, and recalled
right-hander Jason Bulger from Triple-A Salt Lake.

The 32-year-old Alfonzo, an NL All-Star with the New York Mets
in 2000, batted only .100 in 18 games for the Angels, going
5-for-50. He was acquired from the San Francisco Giants last
December for outfielder Steve Finley.

"Edgardo still can play. He's an extraordinary professional,"
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before his team faced the Los
Angeles Dodgers in the second game of a three-game series.

"It was tough on him, his role wasn't something he was used
to," Scioscia said. "It was tough to produce. I'm sure he's going
to get an opportunity to play elsewhere."

Alfonzo went 0-for-2 Friday night in his final game with the
Angels, hitting a grounder to shortstop in the ninth to drive in a
meaningless run in a 16-3 loss. That turned out to be his only RBI
this year.

"I don't think it makes sense for them to pay me that kind of
money to go down to Triple-A," Alfonzo said. "They've been good
to me. They gave me an opportunity to try to find a team that would
like to have me.

"I felt like part of this team and I tried to keep guys
positive here, even when I wasn't in the lineup. It's a great group
of guys here."

Alfonzo said he was under the impression he would get an
opportunity to play more than he did.

"But they have a lot of great players here, so it was kind of
hard at the beginning to see action," he said. "It's too bad it
didn't work out the way it was supposed to.

"I still believe in myself and I still believe I can play. But
it's tough when you're used to playing every day, and then you're
playing every five or six days or sitting there for seven innings
and then coming in to hit. My body is used to playing every day."

The Angels had lost 15 of 20 to fall eight games below .500, and
were batting just .247 as a team -- the third-lowest average in the
majors. They've had to play extended stretches without
first-stringers Darin Erstad, Juan Rivera, Garret Anderson and
Casey Kotchman.

The pitching has been shaky as well, with the two-time defending
AL West champions having to go without reigning AL Cy Young Award
winner Bartolo Colon most of the year. They've gotten a string of
poor performances from free-agent acquisition Jeff Weaver.

"It's obvious the last three weeks the level of our play wasn't
where it needs to be," Scioscia said. "The results just aren't
there. We have to keep going. If you're going to get through a
schedule, you have to have depth. Our depth hasn't emerged.

"Our goal hasn't changed this year. We're still capable of
reaching our goal."

Scioscia said the Angels tried to improve their offense during
the offseason.

"The things that were proposed were going to be idiotic for us
to move forward with," he said. "We're still looking for a bat."

The 27-year-old Bulger, a first-round pick of the Arizona
Diamondbacks in 2001, was 1-1 with 1.53 ERA in 14 games with three
saves for Salt Lake. He appeared in nine games for the Diamondbacks
last season.

"Right now, we might just need some innings from him in the
middle," Scioscia said. "He has the upside to pitch at the back
end of the bullpen. He's got that kind of stuff."