Angels keeping a wary eye on rookie Anderson’s high pitch counts
The Angels love Justin Anderson’s right arm.
They only wish he didn’t have to use it so much.
The rookie reliever is one of the Angels’ hardest throwers and, through the first 30 games of his big-league career, he has become a favorite late-inning option for manager Mike Scioscia.
His continued development, however, is a matter of economics, the Angels wanting Anderson to be more efficient and limit his high pitch counts.
“It comes down to commanding the baseball,” Scioscia said. “It comes down to repeating your delivery. It’s not just throwing the ball down the middle.”
The right-hander averages 19.91 pitches per inning, the highest average on the Angels staff among those who have appeared in more than five games.
He has thrown at least 20 pitches in 16 appearances, although eight have lasted more than one inning.
“I want to make sure I’m pounding the strike zone a little bit more,” Anderson said, “instead of going out there and just sort of throwing the ball around in circles.”
He had his most efficient inning of the season June 27 at Boston, when he retired the Red Sox in order on eight pitches in the sixth inning, facing Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez.
“I’m still learning a bunch of things every day,” Anderson said. “I think maybe in the transition to the big leagues you sometimes try to overdo things a little.”
Strong up the middle
No team in baseball has permitted fewer stolen bases than the Angels and only the Miami Marlins have thrown out a higher percentage of would-be base stealers.
They’ve made fewer errors than all but one other American League team and they lead the league in double plays.
“We’re not leading the league in double plays as a fluke,” Scioscia said. “We’ve been turning double plays at an incredible rate.”
The San Francisco Giants began Thursday with 94 double plays and the Angels were next with 91.
“You have to look at the guys in the middle,” Scioscia said. “You look at Andrelton [Simmons]. You look at Ian [Kinsler]. These guys are as good as there is at their positions.”
Nick Tropeano (shoulder) is scheduled to make his first rehabilitation start Saturday with single-A Inland Empire. He’s expected to throw about 60 pitches. … Reliever Jim Johnson (lumbar) has been throwing off a mound and is moving toward starting a rehab assignment. … Matt Shoemaker (forearm) is getting close to starting a throwing program. The right-hander has been limited to one start and is coming back from surgery in late May. … Outfielder Chris Young has a strained left hamstring. He was injured against the Mariners on Tuesday.
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