Relievers’ roles not clearly defined by Angels manager Mike Scioscia
As of last week, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he hoped to have a set closer he could call on Monday night, if his team held a tight lead late in its season opener against the Oakland Athletics.
It made sense for Cam Bedrosian to get the call. The 25-year-old right-hander throws as hard as anyone in the Angels’ bullpen, spins the steepest breaking ball, experienced the best 2016 season and did not give up a run in spring training.
But Bedrosian said Monday that Scioscia recently informed him that the Angels would deploy a committee of closers to begin the season.
“There might be nights when you’re closing,” Bedrosian said he was told. “There might be nights when other guys are closing. So it’s just soft roles right now. They’ll end up being more defined as the season goes on.”
Scioscia, told of Bedrosian’s comments, interjected to say that he never said that.
“The word committee never came out of my mouth,” he said.
He was then asked for his stance on his bullpen plans.
“I think we’ve got some really versatile arms that can pitch in high-leverage situations,” Scioscia said. “I think you want to keep accruing that depth and having those guys there. So, right now, we’re going to match up. If one guy, obviously, starts to separate himself and is a guy that is pitching to save games, so be it. I think we have a lot of versatility, a lot of good arms. We’ll go about it that way.”
“I think there’s a different approach,” Scioscia said. “By committee, a lot of times it’s, if one guy’s down, someone just takes their place, and you rotate guys back there. There might be games when a perceived closer’s available and might be pitching in the eighth inning, for matchups. You know what I mean? It’s not by committee. It’s really going to be a versatile bullpen with the ability to match up.”
Asked who was in the mix to pitch in the late innings, Scioscia said the list could include nearly everybody. Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit was the lone exception, he said, because of his “functional length.” Scioscia would like to save Petit for potential extra-innings situations.
Veteran right-handers Andrew Bailey and Huston Street are the other pitchers that general manager Billy Eppler named during the offseason as part of the club’s closer competition. Street is currently injured, and Bailey struggled through the spring. Excluding Petit and Bailey, the club’s other relievers have four career saves among them.
Asked if he was OK with Scioscia’s choice, Bedrosian said it was not his decision.
“So, yeah, it’s a little different, but I try to treat it the same.”
Street will start throwing Tuesday in Anaheim, Scioscia said. The reliever has been sidelined since March 3 because of a lat strain. …Scioscia said he did not expect it to be a challenge to incorporate reserve outfielder Ben Revere into his lineup regularly. Revere batted .411 in the spring while starting left fielder Cameron Maybin batted .188.
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