Matt Lindstrom is in his 14th year of professional baseball, but not until Saturday morning had the reliever experienced the uncomfortable feeling of being released.
The Angels cut ties with the veteran right-hander four days before they had to either place him on their 25-man roster or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to keep him in the minor leagues.
"I guess there's a first time for everything," said Lindstrom, who had an 11.12 earned-run average in 5 2/3 spring innings but seemed to regain his velocity and form after an injury-plagued 2014 season with the Chicago White Sox.
"It's probably a numbers game. I'm healthy, I'm throwing hard, I still throw a lot of strikes. I was looking forward to maybe doing something here, but I understand how the game works. They have guys on the [40-man] roster. It's just a little different going through that process for the first time."
General Manager Jerry Dipoto has emphasized the importance of maintaining roster flexibility, especially in the bullpen, and Lindstrom did not offer that luxury; because he has has more than five years of major league service time, the veteran cannot be optioned to the minor leagues without his approval.
But the Angels also have a surplus of right-handed short relievers and need a long man and a left-hander or two, so Lindstrom wasn't a good fit in the bullpen.
"I think Matt still has a good arm, but where our bullpen is, and the dynamics of it, there wasn't going to be a role for him," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We certainly need some length and some balance in our bullpen. We have some guys who were ahead of him now."