The LA Angels are looking for any positive signs from right-handler Nick Tropeano who is attempting to come back from Tommy John Surgery which caused him to miss the entire 2017 season.
On Sunday, the LA Angels got that and then some as Tropeano, who hasn’t pitched in Cactus League game since early March, was on the mound against the Texas Rangers. Tropeano was nothing short of spectacular making 81 pitches in 5.1 innings giving up only two hits and no runs with nine strikeouts.
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Tropeano was in control throughout his outing mixing his off-speed pitches with his fastball and got the victory in the Angels 4-2 victory over the Rangers. Zack Cozart continued his hot streak driving in two more runs going one-for-three. Cozart is now hitting .303 this Spring and is looking pretty good in his transition from shortstop to third base.
After Tropeano exited Blake Wood came in to finish the sixth. Wood was followed by Jim Johnson, Luke Bard, and Ian Krol and they were able to finish it off. Krol looked really good in picking up his second save of the Spring. Krol is battling Greg Mahle, and Jose Alvarez for the lefty specialist role.
Carlos Perez and Chris Carter came off the bench to provide some insurance with an RBI-double. Carter and Perez are longshots to make the Opening Day Roster, but it was still nice to see them play well.
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So with Tropeano pitching so well Sunday, if he has another good start does he bump someone else from the rotation? This is the million dollar question and I believe the Angels should start thinking about it. I think that as much as I like Matt Shoemaker, he may be better off as a long man in the bullpen.
Richards, Heaney, Skaggs, J.C. Ramirez, and Tropeano would be a very formidable rotation. Again this is only one good start for Tropeano and I believe he will need to repeat this in his last two Spring starts, but he has tremendous stuff and was really starting to come into his own in 2016 before going down with the torn UCL.
Let’s see what happens over the next 10 days and how the Angels decide to handle things. It will definitely be interesting.