When the LA Angels traded Ian Kinsler to Boston last summer they were hoping to get players that could help the team right away. Ty Buttrey was one of the pitchers the Angels got from Boston in the deal.
LA Angels reliever Ty Buttrey was drafted in the fourth round by the Boston Red Sox in 2012. He spent six years in the minors for Boston hoping for a chance to show what he could do. When the Angels traded for Buttrey, the 6’6 right-hander was overjoyed knowing that he was going to the Angels and hopefully finally make it to the majors.
“I was very excited when I heard i got traded. I felt like it was a chance for me to get a fresh start. It was a new opportunity and chance to put myself in a good position to be called up,” said Buttrey in a late September interview. “My family was really excited for the change. It was really awesome. I’m very thankful to the Angels for the opportunity. My family has been my constant support and has helped me stick with it even after six years in the minors. They have been great.”
Less than two weeks later after being traded Buttrey was promoted to the Angels and now he finally got his opportunity to pitch in the big leagues. Buttrey was immediately pressed into service pitching in relief in game against the Texas Rangers. Buttery pitched a scoreless inning and his MLB career had begun on a high note.
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Buttrey continued to pitch well only giving up one run in his first 14 relief appearances for the Angels. On September18th Buttrey had an ERA of 0.59 striking out 19 batters in 15.2 innings he also converted four save opportunities.
“When I went into the game for the first time in Texas I was just trying to focus on my mechanics. I was nervous facing major league hitters with all the lights in the park and my adrenaline was pumping,” Buttrey said. “All of the emotions were running through my head. The second time was better and I was more relaxed and my adrenaline was dying down. I just tried to throw strikes.”
Buttery was even more excited when he was given the opportunity to close a few games late in the season. Unfortunately Buttrey’s last two appearances were less than stellar as he blew back-to-back saves including giving up five runs on September 22nd against Houston. And two days later he gave up a 9th inning run to Texas that blew mother save. However, Buttrey took it in stride, and said you just have to put it behind you.
“I really didn’t know what to think. I just tried to treat it like any other inning and get guys out. It doesn’t matter to me whether it is the 9th or the seventh or eighth inning,” Buttrey said. “It stinks when you blow a save because you feel like you let your whole team down. But you can’t let yourself think too much or get too down because then you lose your edge.”
Buttrey comes into 2019 hoping to be part of the Angels bullpen mix as possibly a 7th inning guy or even a set-up man. He now has 17 games of major league experience coming into Spring Training. Buttrey knows that he will have to turn it up a notch if he hopes to earn a spot in the Angels bullpen.
“Even though I had some success here at the end of the season, I know that I have to come out and compete every time and keep getting better,” Buttrey said. “I will pitch wherever the Angels need me next year. I want to go into Spring Training and come out firing right out of the gate and show the Angels and everyone what I can do so I can earn a spot in the bullpen to start the season.”
One thing that Buttrey says that has made the transistion to the Angels and to the majors in general much easier has been the support of the other members of the Angels bullpen last season.
“Cam, Noe, and Jim Johnson were really helpful and were there to answer any questions I had. they also let me know if I was doing something wrong which helped me a lot,” Buttrey said. “I am just going to try to keep my head down and learn all I can from them so I can be the best pitcher I can be.”
Buttrey is one of about 15 pitchers in the mix for making the Angels bullpen to start the season. We will have to see what happens this Spring.