AL Notes: Blanton, Rangers, Indians

Joe Blanton will start for the Angels against the Dodgers Tuesday night, and with the imminent returns of Jered Weaver and Tommy Hanson, it would appear to be a crucial start. But that's not how Blanton sees it, Alden Gonzalez of reports. "I don't have anything to prove," says Blanton. "This is my ninth [full season]. If I have to prove something my ninth yearyou know, obviously I want to throw the ball well." Blanton has a 6.19 ERA with 5.7 K/9 in 56 2/3 innings, although he has only walked 2.1 batters per nine. "I feel like I've pretty much thrown the ball the way I want to throw. Stuff's been fine, and they've just hit balls where people aren't," Blanton says. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Shohei Otani made his NPB debut as a starting pitcher last Thursday, and a member of the Rangers' front office was in attendance, Sponichi reports. "I was aware of him, but his pitching really left an impression," Scott Littlefield, a special assistant to Rangers GM Jon Daniels, said. "I think he's got a bright future ahead of him if he can stay healthy." Otani, who at one point seemed likely to sign with an MLB team directly out of high school, gave up two earned runs over five innings in his debut, striking out two and walking three. Sponichi also notes that Littlefield was on hand to watch Masahiro Tanaka's start on Wednesday. Tanaka, 24, has a career 2.47 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in seven seasons for Rakuten.
  • The Indians' bullpen is a bit banged-up right now, but with the trade deadline still two months away, GM Chris Antonetti is optimistic about the relievers he has, the Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes reports. Closer Chris Perez headed to the disabled list Monday with a shoulder injury. "Losing your closer is never easy, but we still feel the solutions are in our clubhouse," says Antonetti. Perez's replacement, Vinnie Pestano, has had lower velocity since his own return from the disabled list two weeks ago. Still, trading for a reliever at this early point in the season would be a little unusual. Hoynes mentions signing Brian Wilson as a possibility, but Wilson had Tommy John surgery last year and hasn't pitched in 2013.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.

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