Scioscia announced Thursday that Pineiro had been dropped from the rotation after a string of poor performances that included 39 hits allowed in his past 20 1/3 innings and 24 runs in 13 1/3 innings over his past four starts (16.20 ERA).
"The bottom line is where J.P. is right now in his game and where he's shown he can be and where we need him -- that divide is widening," Scioscia said. "We need that gap to close."
Pineiro will have to try to close it while getting sporadic work as a long man in the bullpen and working with pitching coach Mike Butcher on the side.
In the meantime, the Angels will have to replace him in the rotation by choosing among a few options in the organization. Right-handers Trevor Bell, Matt Palmer and Jerome Williams are the viable candidates at Class AAA, while left-hander Hisanori Takahashi is a possibility from the big-league bullpen.
Another intriguing possibility is the Angels' top pitching prospect, right-hander Garrett Richards. A supplemental first-round pick in 2009, Richards is 12-2 with a 3.06 ERA for Class AA Arkansas this season.
"He's a guy that is in the conversation," Scioscia said of Richards, 23. "He's a guy that's come a long way."
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