The composition of the Angels’ opening day roster became clearer Friday when the team announced it had released right-handed pitcher Daniel Hudson and made a series of other moves.
The veteran reliever entered spring training as a nonroster invitee. The Angels would have had to clear room on their 40-man roster to include Hudson in their plans.
By parting ways with Hudson and optioning prospect Jake Jewell to triple-A, the Angels effectively signaled to their uninjured, out-of-options relievers that they aren’t at risk of losing their roster spots.
“It narrows the field,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
That’s good news for Los Angeles native Noe Ramirez, whose 40-man roster spot might have been comprised if Hudson had stuck around.
Without counting two outings in which he allowed a combined seven earned runs over what amounted to one inning, Ramirez has assembled a commendable spring training campaign. He reinforced it when he threw three scoreless innings while scattering two hits and striking out three batters in a start on Thursday.
Ramirez’s presence in the bullpen would make it a little easier for Ausmus to manage the Angels’ pitching staff in the opening weeks of the season. Ramirez can throw multiple innings in one appearance and help bridge the gap to closer Cody Allen.
“It’s definitely a consideration,” Ausmus said. “At this point in the season they’re not stretched out. So we’re cautious.”
Left-hander Dan Jennings is the only non-roster reliever with major league experience remaining in Angels camp. The Angels are likely to put him on the roster because they don’t have another left-handed pitcher in the bullpen. To make room for him, the Angels could designate for assignment minor leaguer Jesus Castillo, a right-hander who was added to the 40-man roster after the 2017 season. Castillo, 23, issued eight walks and yielded nine earned runs in three Cactus League innings before being optioned to double-A on March 10. Acquired by the Angels in August 2016, Castillo has not yet played in the major leagues.
The Angels also optioned third baseman Taylor Ward and and catcher Jose Briceno to triple-A and reassigned outfielder Jarrett Parker, catcher Dustin Garneau and outfielder Brennon Lund to minor league camp. Catcher Kevan Smith and infielder David Fletcher should begin the season on the opening day roster.