It had been nearly 21 months, or more than 600 days, for Nick Tropeano.
So, yeah, as he walked off the Kauffman Stadium mound after pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings Thursday, there was some emotion.
"I'm not going to lie to you," he said a day later. "It was a little teary because of all the work you put in. There are some doubts when you go through it."
Elbow ligament-replacement surgery has become a common bookmark in the careers of big-league pitchers.
That doesn't make the process any less anguishing, Tropeano calling his recovery "a bunch of valleys and mountains." His previous appearance for the Angels came on July 18, 2016.
But now, at age 27, he is feeling very similar to how he felt before the injury. Tropeano said he believes his velocity will improve as he builds up his innings.
During his downtime, he increased his video work, watching his past performances as well as the at-bats of opponents, particularly those in the American League West.
Because of this studying and the maturation that can come with a long rehabilitation program, the Angels might be getting an improved Tropeano.
"Hopefully," manager Mike Scioscia said, "this version 2.0 will be a little better just based on his experience."
To make room on the roster for starting pitcher Andrew Heaney, the Angels optioned reliever Felix Pena to triple-A Salt Lake. … JC Ramirez is scheduled to undergo elbow reconstruction surgery Tuesday.