Mickey Callaway knew that Aaron Sele’s return from off-season shoulder surgery was going to result in either a return to triple-A Salt Lake or a move to the bullpen, but he probably never envisioned becoming what seems like the forgotten man on the Angel staff.
“There’s no telling how often he’s going to pitch,” pitching coach Bud Black said of Callaway. “We’ll just have to see how his appearances go.”
Since making his last start, against the New York Yankees on April 23, Callaway has averaged one appearance a week out of the bullpen. He allowed the decisive two runs in the 14th inning of Boston’s 6-4 victory over the Angels on April 27, but has fared better in his last three appearances, pitching four scoreless innings.
“He could be used anywhere from long to middle relief and do a fine job,” Black said. “We feel that Mickey is a major league pitcher. There’s really no other way to put it.”
Callaway also provides depth if a starting pitcher goes on the disabled list or goes into a prolonged slump. The right-hander didn’t fare well in his four starts to open the season, posting a 1-2 record with a 5.75 earned-run average, but the Angels remain confident he can contribute as a spot starter or reliever.
Callaway, who made only a handful of relief appearances in his seven minor league seasons, has stayed sharp in the bullpen by throwing off the mound every third or fourth day regardless of whether he pitches in a game. The biggest adjustments have been mental.
“When you’re starting, you think about it the night before and the day of the game,” Callaway said. “Now I have to stay focused and ready to pitch the first five or six innings of every game.”
The Angels did not send Callaway back to triple A in part because he is out of options and could have been claimed off waivers by another team. Callaway said he is happy to be in the majors and doesn’t consider himself in a difficult situation regardless of how little he pitches.
“I’m fortunate to be here and be on the team and I’m going to do whatever they want me to do on any given day,” he said.