Yusmeiro Petit made the Angels' opening day roster Tuesday, fellow 32-year-old right-hander Bud Norris inched closer to the same status, and the Angels are soon going to debut an unusual bullpen.
Petit's contract required him to be told by 9 a.m. Tuesday if he was not making the team or paid a $100,000 bonus. He's now due a $2.25-million salary in 2017.
Because the Dodgers released Norris four days before last season's end, he was not subject to the same conditions set forth for six-year big league veterans by MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
A top prospect more than a decade ago, Petit resurfaced in San Francisco in 2013 and logged three successful seasons split between starting and relieving. He struggled to a 4.50 earned-run average for Washington last season but averaged nearly two innings per appearance.
"He's a guy that knows his way around some tough situations coming out of the pen," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Petit. "He throws strikes. He's got good command. The stuff is good. I think he's going to be an important part of our bullpen."
The Angels will not open the season with an array of dominant relievers, or even many relievers with extensive track records. But they should boast an unusual configuration of pitchers capable of handling multiple-inning assignments in Petit, Norris and right-hander JC Ramirez, who started games all spring.
Last season, the Angels opened the season with only one reliever, Cory Rasmus, who threw more than one inning at a time during spring training, and he hardly pitched for the club.
Norris, who started Tuesday's Cactus League game, has spent almost all of his career as a starting pitcher.
"At this point in my career," Norris said, "I'm doing anything, really, to help the team win. I know we have a lot of guys up there who can do some things. I just want to help the staff."
Skaggs start changed
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs was slated to start Thursday at Angel Stadium in the Freeway Series opener against the Dodgers. The Angels announced Tuesday that he would instead stay back in Arizona to pitch in a minor league game.
It will be his second such assignment of the spring, and many major league pitchers despise them. Minor league hitters swing early and often and force the pitchers into plans they will not put into practice during the regular season. Skaggs does not mind.
"When you pitch, it's all a mental game," he said after his last minor league start. "If you take your bullpen seriously, you throw every pitch with conviction, [these] are something you look forward to."
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons said he has been bothered by lower back tightness since Friday. He has missed three consecutive Cactus League games and will not play Wednesday's finale against Milwaukee.
He expects to return Thursday.
"During the season, I'd be playing," Simmons said. "But they want to be cautious, and I try to be cautious. I want to be as fresh as possible for opening day."
Asked if the artificial turf fields on which he played in Seoul and Tokyo for the World Baseball Classic affected him, Simmons said no.
"Don't blame the WBC," he said.
Twenty-eight MLB teams have named their opening day starters for next week. Only the Colorado Rockies and the Angels have not, and the Rockies' presumed choice, Jon Gray, left his last start because of an injury. Scioscia said Tuesday there were still uncertainties to be confirmed before he could make his announcement. "There are some things that aren't settled," he said. … Before Tuesday's game, all the players who appeared for rookie-league Orem last season were honored on the field for their Pioneer League championship. "They'll forever be remembered as one of the best Angels' affiliates in history," it was announced over the public-address system. The Owlz finished the regular season with 38 wins and 38 losses. … Right-hander Ricky Nolasco pitched in a triple-A game at the Chicago Cubs' spring training facility Tuesday. He threw 42 pitches over three innings, allowed two hits and two runs and struck out six. He left for Southern California immediately afterward.