ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -Struggling right-hander Ervin Santana was sent to the minors by the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, a day after he was shelled by Tampa Bay and lost his fifth consecutive decision.
Santana fell to 5-11 with a 6.22 ERA in 19 starts.
His 11 losses tie him for the most in the AL, and he has given up a league-high 76 earned runs and 23 homers in 110 innings.
The Angels activated catcher Mike Napoli, who was on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle, to fill the roster spot.
The 24-year-old Santana has had a meltdown this season - possibly because of his tinkering with some of his pitches last spring - after being one of the Angels' most dependable starters. He was 16-8 with a 4.28 ERA last year, his first full season in the majors, and went 12-8 with a 4.65 ERA as a rookie in 2005.
The decision to send him to Triple-A Salt Lake was made after Santana gave up 14 hits and seven runs in six innings of an 8-3 loss to the Devil Rays at Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.
A native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, Santana has a career record of 33-27 with one complete game, one shutout and a 4.87 ERA in 75 career starts.
The Angels signed him as a free agent on Sept. 2, 2000.
Napoli, 25, went on the DL on July 2 after spraining his ankle on the final play of a 4-3 victory over Baltimore the previous day. He is batting .243 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 56 games this year.
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