SEATTLE -- A return to prominence in Latin America has been a long, uphill climb for the Angels since 2009, when a Major League Baseball investigation basically kept them inactive for a couple of years.
But on Wednesday, the first of May, they'll take a big step forward in the most fruitful of all Latin American nations -- the Dominican Republic.
That's when the Angels will finally move out of their isolated, outdated facility in San Pedro and into a new one in the more-centralized Boca Chica area, where about 20 other teams set up shop in hopes of plucking some of the best talent in this baseball-crazed island.
Asked to describe the difference between the facility they utilized since the 1980s and the new one, assistant general manager Scott Servais said: "It's probably a 99-percent upgrade. In a scale of 1 to 100, we were at the bottom. And if we were a 10 before, this probably puts us up in the 75 to 80 range."
The new facility, essentially attached to that of the Mets and Phillies, is bigger and more modern. More importantly, it's situated in a much more prominent location 20 miles east of Santo Domingo and will put the Angels in the heart of player movement in the Dominican, making it easier to develop players, host tryouts, scout talent and perhaps even lure teenagers.
"It gives us a chance to compete with everybody else down there," said Servais, who oversees scouting and player development.
"One of the biggest things about the location is the accessibility and the geographic closeness to a lot of the other teams," said Carlos Gomez, hired over the offseason to run international scouting. "Before, you're playing in the San Pedro division, and you face the Brewers, the Tigers, the Braves -- over and over and over. Now, we have many more opponents. So I think the kids will get more exposure to different players, and on top of that, for a scouting stake, we're just more in the central hub of most of the player movement occurs. So, it's a big advantage."
For a while, the Angels were a force in Latin America, signing the likes of Erick Aybar, Kendrys Morales, Francisco Rodriguez and Ervin Santana. But in June 2009, former scouting director Clay Daniel was dismissed by former GM Tony Reagins over reported concerns that his scouts were skimming bonuses. And with that, the Angels essentially went dark in Latin America until Marc Russo began rebuilding in November 2010.
The Angels ranked 28th in estimated international amateur spending in 2010 ($617,000) and 24th in 2011 ($1.35 million), then allocated about the same in 2012. But things may finally be looking up.
"We have to ramp it up down there, and this will be the first step in moving that in the right direction," Servais said. "It'll be a real operation. We'll have a full-blown weight room, room to house our staff there, the meals and everything else will be real upgraded. This will really help."
Angels place reliever Burnett on DL
SEATTLE -- It got to a point where lefty reliever Sean Burnett figured he just needed to give his left forearm some rest.
"It feels fine as long as I can take a few days," Burnett said. "But it's not fair to my teammates to pitch and have to take a few days and stuff like that."
So on Sunday, Burnett became the latest Angel to land on the disabled list, going on the shelf for at least 15 days because of left forearm irritation that has been bothering him for the last couple of weeks. An MRI on the area, which resides dangerously close to the elbow, came back clean and the ligament -- replaced via Tommy John surgery in 2004 -- is fine.
"It doesn't seem like it's too serious," Burnett said. "There's no structural damage from what they're telling me. It's more frustrating than anything. I can't put a finger on it."
The Angels replaced Burnett on the roster with Tommy Hanson, who was activated from the bereavement list in time to start Monday's game. They still have eight relievers and three bench players. The 30-year-old Burnett, who was unavailable on Monday and Tuesday because of the muscular ailment, is hopeful that a couple of weeks off will get him back on track.
"The only thing we haven't done is given it some time off," Burnett said. "I've taken a day off, but I've still been throwing during batting practice and stuff like that. Hopefully with a few days of no throwing, it'll calm down. It just seems like right now the muscle's mad at me."
Burnett joins right-handed relievers Kevin Jepsen (strained right lat), Mark Lowe (neck stiffness) and Ryan Madson (Tommy John recovery) on the DL. With Garrett Richards now in the rotation, only three members of the Angels' Opening Day bullpen -- lefty Scott Downs, closer Ernesto Frieri and long man Jerome Williams -- remain available as relievers.
Burnett believes the injury stems from offseason surgery to remove two bone spurs from his elbow, which has given him more range of motion, but has forced his arm to get used to different movements. On the mound, he's able to execute pitches better than he has in quite some time. But the discomfort remains.
"If it was later in the year, you could fight through it maybe," Burnett said. "But right now, just to be this early, it's not worth dealing with for the next six months."
"We just need to take a step back and evaluate exactly where he is," Angels manager Mike Scioscia added. "He's been nursing this for too long for what our medical department's comfort level is. He's very important to us .The tests that have been done have ruled out anything significant, which is encouraging. But there's certainly something going on in his elbow that's going on that we need to address right now."
Hanson returns from bereavement list
SEATTLE -- For the last six days, while grieving the loss of his stepbrother, Tommy Hanson was away from the Angels, taking in games on TV and consoling with family members while his teammates went on with their season.
"Being here is my therapy," Hanson said Sunday, from the visiting clubhouse at Safeco Field. "I want to be here. When I'm not here, I don't feel right. I know I had to be there for my family, and my younger sister and nieces and nephews. The whole time I was there, I had that feeling I wasn't supposed to be there. I was supposed to be with the team working and watching the games at night. It wasn't fun, to say the least."
Hanson was officially activated off the bereavement list before the series finale against the Mariners and will take his next turn in the rotation during Monday's opener in Oakland. The 26-year-old right-hander missed only one start, a Wednesday game against the Rangers that became a bullpen day and resulted in an 11-3 loss.
Since Monday, Hanson has been in Georgia dealing with the sudden death of his 24-year-old stepbrother, whom he shared a room with in Southern California from ages 9 to 16.
Hanson played catch and worked out at a hotel gym while he was away, then threw a bullpen session at Safeco Field late Saturday night. Angels manager Mike Scioscia expects him to throw his normal number of innings against an A's team that activated cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes off the disabled list on Sunday.
"I'm glad to be back to work, that's the truth," said Hanson, 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA in his first three starts. "It's just something you have to deal with. I'm happy to be there for my family."
• Ryan Madson, currently getting treatment in Arizona, hasn't thrown off a mound since pitching to hitters for the first time on April 19 and isn't even playing catch at the moment. "Some of the elements have been slow to develop and it's been a little frustrating," Scioscia said. "But in the big picture, he's made a lot of progress in the last three weeks. Hopefully once he gets over this hurdle, we won't be looking back."
• Erick Aybar (bruised left heel) had the day off on Sunday, after playing three games of extended spring training in Arizona, and will start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday -- though Scioscia isn't sure if that will be his last game before getting activated.
• Alberto Callaspo (right calf strain) had a full workout on Sunday, will get a day off on Monday and is slated to start for Class A Inland Empire on Tuesday. The switch-hitting third baseman could be activated next weekend, during the Angels' home series against the Orioles.
• Jered Weaver (broken left elbow) played catch for the third time since landing on the disabled list prior to Sunday's game, making throws on his own and stretching out to 90 feet. The Angels' ace will play catch on an everyday basis if he feels good, but Scioscia said he won't throw off a mound until he backs up to 180 feet.
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.