Reliever Mike Morin gave up a bunt single and struck out two in a scoreless inning for Class-A Inland Empire on Thursday night, and the Angels' right-hander is expected to be activated off the disabled list Saturday after missing 15 days because of a laceration on his left foot.
“I had no problem whatsoever,” said Morin, a rookie who has used an effective fastball-changeup combination to go 3-3 with a 2.36 earned-run average in 41 appearances this season. “I felt 100%. It eased my mind a bit. It’s not like you forget how to pitch, but when you don’t throw in a game for 13 days ... ”
Morin’s return will present the Angels with a surprisingly difficult roster decision, assuming they choose to maintain a seven-man bullpen, because the three candidates to be demoted to the minor leagues have all pitched well.
Cory Rasmus entered Friday night’s game against the Texas Rangers with a 2-1 record and 2.61 ERA in 21 games, Fernando Salas is 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 39 games and has given up one hit in seven scoreless innings since being recalled from triple-A Salt Lake in early August.
And Vinnie Pestano, recently acquired in a trade from Cleveland, struck out three of four batters in his first game with the Angels, against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
For much of the past three years, the Angels failed to go more than four deep with quality arms in their bullpen. Now, they can go seven or eight deep.
“The tough decisions are indicative of a team that’s been deeper in some areas than we have been in couple years, and that reflects on the strength of our team,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “There have been many tough decisions, a lot of guys who have been sent down who have been performing well, and that’s helped us a lot.”