SEATTLE -- Somewhere along the way, amid woeful struggles that caused him to temporarily lose his job as the Angels' closer, Ernesto Frieri forgot about something.
"I forgot how to have fun," Frieri said in Spanish on Saturday. "That's what I'm doing now -- I'm having fun."
Granted, this game can be a lot more enjoyable when you have success. And Frieri is having it again, pitching six consecutive scoreless innings immediately following a two-week stretch that saw him give up 12 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings and blow two saves.
On Friday night, Frieri earned his first save in three weeks, striking out the side to preserve a 2-0 win at Safeco Field. And on Saturday, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Frieri will "primarily" go back to closing -- though he added that Dane De La Rosa will continue to get opportunities.
"The decision a manager makes is something you can't control," Frieri said of Scioscia's decision to temporarily remove him from the ninth at the end of July. "This team has struggled all year. And Mike wants to win. He's given me a lot of opportunities, which I'm very grateful for. But in that moment, we needed to win. I lost a lot of important games that we needed to win, and with everything that's happening with the team, you can't throw away games like that."
At some point leading up to his woeful late July and early August, Frieri lost the late life on his patented cutter, which is prone to happen from time to time. And so, for a two- to three-week stretch, he relied heavily on his shaky slider and changeup and threw fewer fastballs than ever.
"That's when I kind of fell into desperation mode," Frieri said. "I was worried. My fastball wasn't working, so I decided to throw my breaking pitches more, show [hitters] that I had good breaking pitches, and nothing came out."
Then came Aug. 10 in Cleveland. Frieri, four days removed from two consecutive rough outings, entered the ninth inning with a five-run lead and got three quick outs on nine pitches -- eight of them fastballs.
"I just finally realized that that's just not my game," said Frieri, who has a 4.25 ERA and is 27-for-31 in saves this season. "My thing is throwing my fastball, be aggressive. These last six outings, that's been the difference - the late life on my fastball, which hitters aren't putting good swings on. That's what I need to have all year."
Jepsen should miss rest of season after appendectomy
SEATTLE -- Kevin Jepsen underwent an emergency appendectomy in Seattle on Saturday and the recovery time is four-to-six weeks, which means the Angels don't expect to have their power reliever back for the rest of this season.
Jepsen, resting comfortably at the team hotel after undergoing successful surgery, will fly back to California and won't be with the team for the rest of its 10-day road trip.
Jepsen had been experiencing pain around his midsection for a few days. Prior to Friday's game, he described his symptoms to Josh Hamilton's accountability partner, Shayne Kelley, who underwent an emergency appendectomy in early July, and Kelley advised Jepsen to go straight to the hospital.
The 29-year-old spent Friday night at Swedish Medical Center before undergoing surgery on Saturday afternoon. To take his spot on the roster, the Angels recalled outfielder Collin Cowgill, returning the club to 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
Jepsen's year, his sixth with the Angels, will likely finish with a 4.50 ERA in 45 appearances.
"It's tough," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Jeppy is still evolving. ... He's got that power arm, and hopefully what he's done in the last couple of weeks, as far as some of the adjustments he made, will be something he carries into Spring Training if he doesn't go back this year."
Scioscia says he and GM Dipoto are 'in line'
SEATTLE -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia said there are "no philosophical differences" between him and general manager Jerry Dipoto. The longtime skipper admits he was upset over the dismissal of hitting coach and longtime friend Mickey Hatcher last May, but he said he's moved on and added that whatever disagreements go on with Dipoto are "healthy."
"Jerry and I are certainly, as far as our baseball philosophies, in line," Scioscia said. "The one thing that I publicly disagreed with Jerry about, and we've talked about it, too, is when he let Mickey go. And that's been it. Everything else is just baseball talk. There's a lot of chatter out there. But there's no foundation to it. Our philosophies are right in line with anything that we've ever done here."
The sentiment around the organization is that Angels owner Arte Moreno will dismiss either Dipoto or Scioscia at the end of the season -- though Moreno himself didn't go into specifics when asked about that by MLB.com during last week's Owners' Meetings in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Scioscia (signed through 2018) and Dipoto (tied to an entire front-office team) would each be difficult to replace. But the Angels are on their way to a fourth consecutive postseason absence -- not to mention a potential 90-loss season -- and sources have said Dipoto and Scioscia haven't really meshed since Dipoto came on board in November 2011, as reports by CBSSports.com and FOXSports.com stated.
Scioscia, however, said the two have "a normal general manager-manager relationship."
"A manager and a GM, a manager and his coaching staff, a GM and his assistant GMs, you're not going to agree on everything," Scioscia said. "That's healthy. You have to have conversation. ... You have to throw it on the table, see if it has merit, talk about it, peel the paint off it, and I feel that that's happening. You're not going to get a manager and a GM that are going to have the same evaluation on every single player, and the same exact thoughts on every situation. That's just impossible."
• Garrett Richards, who exited Friday's 2-0 win with one out in the eighth after taking a liner off his right forearm, will throw his normal between-starts bullpen session on Sunday and expects to start Wednesday's game against the Rays on normal rest. The 25-year-old said postgame Saturday that his arm feels just fine.
• Hamilton went 2-for-5 in Saturday's 5-1 win and extended his road hitting streak to a career-high 12 games. In that streak, he's batting .408 (20-for-49) with two homers and 14 RBIs.
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.