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JC Ramirez is ‘excited’ to be starting pitcher in Angels home opener

The game Sunday was all about the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani making his big league pitching debut.

The game Monday will be all about the Angels’ starting pitcher, too, although no one ever has compared JC Ramirez to Babe Ruth.

Instead, this story is about Ramirez having the honor of starting the home opener only a year after becoming a full-time starter.

“I’m just excited,” the right-hander said. “Ready to go.”

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The Angels host Cleveland for three games starting at 7 p.m. Monday.

Ramirez began last season in the bullpen and moved into the rotation after three appearances. Once there, he established himself as a steadying influence in a group beset by injury.

He finished 11-10 with a 4.15 earned-run average in 27 games and reported to spring training this year intent on holding on to his job as the Angels pitching staff regained its collective health.

“Now I just have to prove that I can be doing this for a long time,” Ramirez said. “I’m just happy I was able to stay healthy. All the work I did in the offseason showed up in spring training.”

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Ramirez pitched in the Angels’ season opener a year ago but in relief. This will be his first start amid the ceremony, and potential distraction, teams use to mark home openers.

“I’m not sure how to do it,” he said of handling the surrounding festivities. “I’ll see. I will try to keep it the same. I know there’s going to be a lot stuff.”

Ryan Schmipf is sent to triple A

In Ryan Schimpf, the Angels on Saturday added an infielder with big league experience and a well-traveled player.

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The Angels are Schimpf’s fourth organization since mid-December. They acquired him from Atlanta in exchange for catcher Carlos Perez.

Schimpf has been optioned to triple-A Salt Lake, where he’ll play second base, third base and perhaps some outfield.

He hit 34 home runs with an .809 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 527 plate appearances for San Diego the last two seasons. But he struck out 175 times and batted .195.

Andrew Heaney throws in Arizona

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Left-hander Andrew Heaney threw 69 pitches and the equivalent of five innings in an intrasquad game in Arizona on Sunday. He’s working his way back from elbow inflammation. The Angels will need an additional starter April 12.

jmiller2929@yahoo.com

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