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Now healthy, Cam Bedrosian could become Angels closer

The Angels haven't won as much as a playoff game since 2009. That doesn't mean they completely lack World Series experience.

Albert Pujols, for example, earned two titles with St. Louis. Cam Bedrosian spent time in a World Series-winning clubhouse, too, only he doesn't recall much about it.

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He was barely three weeks old.

In October of 1991, Bedrosian hung out with the champion Minnesota Twins (his father, Steve, was a reliever on the team).

Cam was born Oct. 2 of that year, near Atlanta. He and his mother, Tammy, then flew to Minnesota. The Twins beat the Braves by winning Games 6 and 7 at the Metrodome on Oct. 26-27.

"I always thought newborns couldn't fly that soon," Bedrosian said, smiling. "But, I guess, World Series time. It's no time to mess around."

As the son of a pitcher who won a World Series and a Cy Young Award, Bedrosian continues to attempt to build his own big-league career.

In parts of four seasons, he has had stretches of brilliance with the Angels, including a 1.12 earned-run average in 45 appearances in 2016 before a blood clot ended his season.

Last year, Bedrosian closed early on but then struggled with a groin injury that lingered most of the season. He saved three games in April and three more in August.

In between, he missed time because of the injury. Throughout, he fought his mechanics while attempting to pitch through being less than 100% physically sound.

"It pretty much lasted all year long," Bedrosian, 26, said. "Unfortunately, it had more of an effect on me than I really thought."

He spent the offseason strengthening his lower body and said he now feels healthy.

Bedrosian is again one of the primary candidates to close for the Angels, along with Blake Parker, who finished 2017 in that role.

There's also Keynan Middleton, along with Jim Johnson, a former All-Star acquired in November in a trade with Atlanta.

"It's going to happen organically," Scioscia said of a closer emerging. "We need that big group of high-leverage guys to hold leads. Within that group, some guys might separate themselves and show they are the guys who can get those last three outs."

Eight different Angels earned saves last season, led by Bud Norris with 19. Norris is no longer with the team having signed as a free agent with St. Louis.

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Should no one claim the closer role this spring, Scioscia said he will take a similar approach to the one he used last season.

"We adapted as we had to," he said. "We had some versatility there. It's much easier to manage when you have guys in specific roles and [you] match up in between. But if you don't have that, you have to do what we did last year."

Name this Ohtani

Since he's Shohei Ohtani and everything that comes with being Shohei Ohtani, there is nothing about the Angels' pitcher/hitter/phenomenon too small to note. Which brings us to the building discussion about potential nicknames for him.

Among the ones that already have surfaced are Sho-Time, Big Oh and, for those who prefer their monikers a little more sophisticated, Shohei Oh, Can He!

While creativity is always encouraged, more than likely, the Angels themselves will settle on calling him something simpler and more direct, which is the way it usually goes in sports.

The favorite right now: Shoie, as in SHOW-ee. Given the respectful demeanor Ohtani has displayed so far, that spelling looks more appropriate than Showy.

Ohtani will make his Cactus League debut Saturday, pitching against Milwaukee at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Recalling another dual threat

As historic as this pursuit is for Ohtani — trying to become a pitching and hitting star — the venture is not a first in Angels history.

In 1964, Willie Smith batted .301 with 11 home runs, played outfield and first base, and went 1-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 games as a pitcher for the Angels.

Smith played two more seasons with the team but didn't pitch again until 1968, when he spent time with Cleveland and the Chicago Cubs.

A native of Alabama, Smith died in 2006.

Minor leaguer suspended

Angels minor league pitcher Andrew Vinson was suspended 50 games Friday for a second positive test for a drug of abuse. A 10th-round pick in 2016, Vinson, 24, is on the roster of Class-A Burlington.

Blash can bash

Jabari Blash has produced as many as 25 homers three times in the minors. At 6 feet, 235 pounds, he certainly islooking the part of a power hitter.

"When I'm playing well, I can do some damage with the bat," said the Angles outfielder, who was acquired this week from the New York Yankees. "I'm athletic. I get after it."

Blash, 28, arrived in camp Friday as a long shot to make the team's opening day roster. In 99 games the past two seasons with San Diego, he batted .200 with eight homers.

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