ANAHEIM - The wait finally ended on Friday night.
In Game No. 14, Jordan Walden finally got his first save chance in the top of the ninth, then - after stranding a baserunner with a strikeout, a flyout and a groundout to preserve a 6-3 win over the Orioles - the Angels became the last team to record a save.
"He's still not the finished product, but he got it done," manager Mike Scioscia said. "His breaking ball tonight was a little inconsistent, but he was throwing it hard, and when he had to make some pitches, he did."
Heading into the series opener against the Orioles, Walden barely had a chance to make any. The 24-year-old right-hander had appeared in just three of the first 13 games, mostly to stay fresh and never to close out a tight ballgame.
They say you can't simulate the ninth inning of a close Major League game, and Walden hadn't experienced that since 2011.
"That's what I did all last year, was have the adrenaline rush," Walden said prior to Friday's game. "It helps you out. You get used to pitching with all the adrenaline. You train yourself for it. Going out there with it not being a save, it's a little different. But you still have to go out there and do your job."
Walden had five days off between his first and second appearances, and three days off between his second and third appearances.
His usage, or lack thereof, was perhaps the most vivid example of the Angels' early-season struggles. Without a lead late in games, there's no need for a closer. And without depth from the starters or production from the offense, it's hard for Scioscia to slot his bullpen the way he'd like to.
"We have not played the games in the terms we need to often enough to really have an impact on where we want to be [with the bullpen]," Scioscia said prior to the game. "We're waiting. We're going to keep plugging away until bullpen roles are defined."
Big-hitting Trumbo starts in left field
ANAHEIM -- The Mark Trumbo experiment at third base isn't done; it's just on a bit of a hiatus.
Friday's game, the series opener against the Orioles at Angel Stadium, didn't just mark the 12th lineup combination manager Mike Scioscia has used in 14 games, it marked the seventh straight game in which Trumbo has not started at third base.
Instead, Trumbo got his first start of the season in the outfield, playing left field while Alberto Callaspo (batting .154) manned the hot corner, Peter Bourjos (.206) missed his second game in the last three days and Kendrys Morales (0-for-8 against lefties) batted seventh against southpaw Brian Matusz.
Eventually, Trumbo will return to third base -- perhaps even Saturday -- but he's definitely more comfortable as a corner outfielder, regardless of the number of reps he's had there.
It's just a more enjoyable experience for him.
"At times I think it can be," said Trumbo, who played a lot of outfield in high school and spent 33 games there in the Minors.
"You never relax out there, but I think there's less going on mentally than at third, especially at this point in time."
However it happens, the Angels simply need Trumbo right now. He was never expected to play third base when a ground-ball pitcher such as Jerome Williams starts, but given the offense's inconsistencies, the presence of Trumbo's bat could be crucial.
The right-handed-hitting slugger entered Friday's game with a .368/.478/.684 slash line, but was 11th on the team in plate appearances (23).
"He's going to play third base," Scioscia continued to emphasize Friday. "But we want him in there more than maybe what you would project the day starting at third base would be for the season, so he's going to have to play some corner outfield, some third base and also DH.
"The defensive chemistry and continuity is very important to us, so we're looking at that very closely. But Mark Trumbo is going to get a chance to contribute this year, that's for sure."
What "a chance" quantifies to, nobody knows right now. For now, Trumbo will continue to get pregame work at third base, will continue to get his reps at first and will continue to sneak out to the outfield to read balls off the bat during batting practice.
His playing time will depend on how he hits, how the others hit and how his defense holds up at his array of positions.
It's nothing the former first baseman didn't expect going into this season.
"I mean, I have to be flexible, wherever it's at," Trumbo said. "I guess I enjoy the fact that they feel comfortable to give me a chance at different positions. It's up to me to do the best I can to make the plays I need to make -- same concept as third base. Just give them some confidence in my ability."
Thompson claimed on waivers by A's
ANAHEIM -- Former Angels reliever Rich Thompson, who was designated for assignment last week, was claimed off waivers by the Athletics on Friday.
The Angels tried to get something back for Thompson in a trade, then hoped he would slip through waivers so he could continue to pitch in their system, but the division-rival A's jumped at the opportunity to add him to a bullpen that ranks fifth in the Majors in ERA.
Thompson posted a 3.00 ERA in 44 appearances during his first full season in the Majors last year, but struggled in high-leverage situations and had been dealing with a pretty drastic drop in velocity this season.
The 27-year-old right-hander, who was signed by the Angels out of Australia in 2002, has been charged with four runs in 2 1/3 innings this season. The Angels designated him on Friday in order to call up rookie ground-ball pitcher David Carpenter.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and 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.