Left-handed reliever Adalberto Mejia is a member of the Angels bullpen. Again.
The Angels on Thursday claimed Mejia off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals, the same team that snatched Mejia from them a few weeks ago.
The move may finally end the roller coaster Mejia has been on since being designated for assignment by the Minnesota Twins on July 13.
He had been unemployed for a week when the Angels first acquired him. He spent six days on their roster. On the final day, he turned in a gutsy relief appearance, allowing only a walk over three scoreless frames in the Angels’ 16-inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles on July 25. The depletion of the bullpen forced the Angels to call in reinforcements from the minor leagues the next day. Mejia, out of minor league options, drew the short straw.
The cycle repeated itself this week when the Cardinals, in the thick of a crowded wild-card race, needed to reboot their bullpen.
The Angels were trying to stay afloat in the postseason race when they designated Mejia. They are now in the opposite situation, 9 1/2 games out of playoff positioning before opening a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.
The Angels made room for Mejia on the 40-man roster by requesting release waivers on catcher Jose Briceno, who has been on the injured list because of a shoulder strain since late May. Briceno, who played in 46 games with the Angels as a rookie last year, began a throwing regimen last month but suffered a setback. He is receiving stem-cell injections in an effort to avoid surgery.
Ty Buttrey struggling through growing pains
Ty Buttrey, the Angels’ typically reliable rookie reliever, has been in a rough stretch since the All-Star break. He has given up nine runs in 10 2/3 innings. Batters have hit him at an alarming .318 clip.
But manager Brad Ausmus is confident the right-hander is only slumping. Although there might be reason to worry about Buttrey’s health, Ausmus said he has not heard Buttrey complain about being hurt or feeling tired from overuse. Buttrey entered Thursday tied for the team lead in appearances with 51 but he’d accumulated only 52 2/3 innings.
“I haven’t seen anything mechanically that would concern me,” Ausmus said. “He was so good for so long, it could be a stretch where he’s just not as good.”
Left-hander Andrew Heaney, on the injured list because of shoulder inflammation, will make his first start since July 16 on Saturday. … Fenway Park, with its quirky shapes and dimensions, is the only American League ballpark that has denied Mike Trout of a home run. Trout collected eight doubles and one triple and had a .350 average in 19 games in Boston before Thursday night. … Shohei Ohtani made his Fenway debut Thursday and hit at least one batting practice home run to dead center field. It landed well left of the triangle there, but still cleared the intimidating 17-foot wall. Ohtani was recovering from his elbow injury when the Angels last played here in June 2018.