Los Angeles Angels make more roster moves

Although he did not pitch badly this Spring, Al Albuequerque was optioned to the minors Tuesday by the Los Angeles Angels. John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Although he did not pitch badly this Spring, Al Albuequerque was optioned to the minors Tuesday by the Los Angeles Angels. John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Angels made some more roster moves in the last couple of days some surprising and some not so surprising.  As Halo Hangout’s Joshua Lea already reported on earlier today, Garrett Richards was named to be the opening day starter against the Cubs next Monday, not a big shocker here.  Although Richards wasn’t spectacular last season he still pitched very well going 15-12 with a 3,65 ERA.  Today Richards showed why Scioscia is entrusting him with this opportunity for the first time in his career.  Richards pitched five innings of two-hit baseball giving up only one run and striking out four.

What was surprising is that the team named second-year starter Andrew Heaney to be their second starter in the rotation, not Hector Santiago.  Heaney has been impressive during Spring sporting a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings pitched with 14 strikeouts. This includes his last start against San Diego where Heaney went five inning giving up two runs on six hits while striking out seven batters. Both Heaney and Santiago have been very effective this Spring.

On Monday the Los Angeles Angels sent starter Nick Tropeano to the minors after a lackluster performance against the Cubs which saw Tropeano give up fives runs in four innings and.  It raised Tropeano’s ERA to 7.52 in the Spring.  This move essentially gave the fifth starting spot to Matt Shoemaker.  Shoemaker has shown signs of his 2014 self going 2-2 with a 7.52 hardly a clear cut victory, especially after an outing against minor leaguers today that saw Shoemaker give up eight runs, five earned on 13 hits in five innings.  Not exactly what Scioscia had in mind.

In other news and notes from Spring Training. Today the Angels tied the Indians 1-1 behind strong pitching by Richards.  Rafael Ortega had another good day in his quest to make the opening day roster as a outfielder and potentially late inning pinch-runner as he went 3 for 3 today raising his average this Spring to .323.  Geovany Soto went two for three putting his average to .313. C.. Cron also had two hits in three at bats.

In a somewhat surprising move the Angels optioned reliever Al Albuquerque to the minors.  Albuquerque sported a 4.50 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 8 innings of work. The move opens up a roster spot for a reliever possibly two.  The most likely beneficiaries are rookie lefty Greg Mahle who is 1-0 with 1.64 ERA this Spring and fireballing reliever Cam Bedrosian who has been lights out since a couple of early Spring meltdowns.  Bedrosian who can top out around 96 MPH has lowered his ERA from 27.00 after giving up three runs in his first spring appearance against San Francisco to a respectable 4.22 ERA after Sunday’s outing against the San Diego Padres.  Bedrosian has struck out 17 batters in 10.2 innings of work and has a nice 1.13 WHIP to boot.

Mahle like Bedrosian had a few rough outings early but has not given up a run in his last seven appearances lowering his ERA from 6.00 to the aforementioned 1.64.  In 11 innings Mahle, a UCSB alum has allowed two runs striking out eight and sporting a 1.27 WHIP.  One or both Mahle and Bedrosian will now make the opening day roster.

In another move the Angels acquired left-handed pitcher Chris Jones from Baltimore in exchange for shortstop Erick Salcedo and left fielder Nathanael Delgado. Jones is a starting pitcher who has been in the minors since 2007 compiling a 44-40 record with a 3.35 ERA 704 innings of work striking out 570 batters.  Jones has a career WHIP of 1.33.  He has pitched the last two season for Triple-A Norfolk going 16-16 with a 3.23 ERA after becoming a full-time starter in 2014.

Salcedo has never been past Single-A in six seasons in the minors compiling a .242 average with 0 home runs and 105 RBI’s.  Delgado has batted .261 in three minor league seasons with 12 homers and 100RBI’s also never playing higher than Single-A.

The Angels have pared down their active roster to 31 (really 29 since C.J. Wilson and Tyler Skaggs will start the season on the DL.) .  This means that four more players must go before next Monday’s season opener. The players left on the chopping block are pitchers Bedrosian and Mahle as well as middle reliever Cory Rasmus. On the hitting side Ji-Man Choi, Rafael Ortega, Todd Cunningham, Rey Navarro, and Jefry Marte are battling for the final four spots.

This next five days will be interesting. Stay tuned.