KANSAS CITY -- With Billy Buckner making the Saturday start against the Royals, he marked the 10th different starter manager Mike Scioscia has used this year.
Additionally, Buckner is the 21st different pitcher this year, and the club record is 29 set in 1996. While the Angels never planned on having so many different guys take the mound -- especially this early in the season -- the benefit is that it shows some pitching depth in the organization.
"The organizational depth has been tested," Scioscia said. "It's an important part of what we need to do. I think we've seen the last couple of weeks that our pitchers have performed better. The fact that we've used so many is obviously not the template, but these guys are important to us."
As more pitchers have started to perform better in recent days, Scioscia has seen some momentum building throughout the staff. As pitchers such as Jered Weaver, Kevin Jepsen, Ryan Madson and Tommy Hanson work their way back to the Angels, other pitchers have shown they have the ability to resurface later if the pitching depth is tested again.
Jepsen nearing return to Angels' bullpen
KANSAS CITY -- Reliever Kevin Jepsen, recovering from a right shoulder strain, had another positive outing for Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday and could be on the verge of rejoining the Angels' bullpen.
"His velocity was good," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He threw his one inning and showed some good secondary pitches, too. He'll be evaluated [Saturday] and we'll see how he came out of it."
Jepsen has now had three rehab outings. He had two saves and 18 holds for the Angels last year.
Plate discipline adding to the Angels' production
KANSAS CITY -- The Angels have been making opposing pitchers work hard in recent days with plate discipline on top of their robust hitting.
In a 5-2 win over Kansas City on Friday, the Angels drew seven walks. A three-run rally in the seventh inning, which snapped a 2-2 tie, began with walks to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.
"Some guys that have the ability to get deeper in counts are feeling more comfortable in the box, and you are seeing more productive at-bats," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Mike and Albert and Alberto Callaspo -- they will take the walk if it's there. Some hitters are going to be less productive if they get in there and try to massage counts. They end up getting in a hole with bad counts. Each hitter is different. There's a fine line with everyone, and the bottom line is production."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.