Angels designate Luke Bard, call up Eduardo Paredes
The need for a fresh bullpen arm outweighed the desire to keep a promising one, as right-hander Eduardo Paredes was recalled from triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday and Luke Bard, who was selected from Minnesota in the Rule 5 draft last winter, was designated for assignment.
Bard’s selection cost the Angels $100,000. If the right-hander is not traded, he would be exposed to waivers. If there are no claims on him, he would have to be offered back to the Twins for $50,000. If the Twins pass, Bard could remain with the Angels and be sent to Salt Lake.
“It stinks because this is a good group of guys, and I’ve enjoyed it here,” Bard said as he packed his bags Saturday afternoon. “Unfortunately, it’s pro sports, and this is part of it. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and we’ll see what’s next.”
Bard, 27, looked sharp in his first five games, giving up one earned run, striking out nine and walking five in 8 1/3 innings. Then he was rocked for six runs and six hits, including four homers, in 1 2/3 innings after replacing struggling starter Shohei Ohtani in the third inning of Tuesday night’s loss to Boston.
“Yeah, I had to get up quick, but that’s no excuse,” said Bard, who had a 5.40 ERA in eight games. “It’s unfortunate because you feel like one outing kind of defines you. Other than that, I feel like I was throwing the ball well and was going in the right direction. I feel like I belong here.”
Paredes, 23, appeared in 18 games for the Angels last season, going 0-1 with a 4.43 ERA. He had a 1.42 ERA in 6 1/3 innings over five games at Salt Lake. He could be sent back to triple A on Sunday to clear a spot for starter Jaime Barria.
Paredes joined an overworked bullpen that, entering Saturday, combined to throw almost as many innings (89 2/3) as the starters (95 2/3) in 20 games. The rotation entered with a 5.17 ERA and was averaging about 4 2/3 innings a start. Relievers had a 3.21 ERA and were averaging about 4 1/3 innings a game.
Garrett Richards helped the cause with six quality innings Saturday, but the Angels still used four relievers for the final three innings.
“For us to be where we are with only four quality starts and averaging 13 outs from our starting pitchers … when you put all that together, it’s remarkable we have the record we do,” manager Mike Scioscia said before the game. “But we know we have to get better.”
The Angels will not make a decision on Ohtani’s next start until the right-hander, who developed a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand Tuesday night, completes a high-intensity bullpen session Sunday. Ohtani, tentatively scheduled to pitch Tuesday in Houston, threw lightly on Friday.
“Friday was just a touch-and-feel bullpen for Shohei,” Scioscia said. “It wasn’t full-gorilla. Sunday’s bullpen will give us a little better idea.”
When Japanese reporters expressed confusion over the term “full-gorilla,” Scioscia grunted like an ape and did his best King Kong impression, drawing hearty laughs from his audience.
“That’s a term we use in the U.S. meaning you’re going as hard as you can, throwing 100%,” Scioscia said.
Ohtani, speaking through an interpreter, said late Friday night that he is “recovering” from the blister and “feels pretty good” about starting Tuesday.
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