The Angels agreed to terms on a minor league contract with veteran reliever Juan Rincon on Sunday, a somewhat curious signing considering the history between the 33-year-old right-hander and Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.
Rincon, then with the Minnesota Twins, served a 10-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2005, a season in which he went 6-6 with a 2.45 earned run average in 75 games.
Rincon had pitched effectively against the Angels shortly before his suspension, and Scioscia cited him as an example of why he felt the first round of penalties was “woefully feeble.” The penalty for first-time offenders has since risen to 50 games.
“When Juan Rincon pitches 11 days from now, are the effects from steroids deteriorated to the point where he’ll pitch at the level of his God-given talents? No,” Scioscia said at the time. “He’ll still have the benefits of whatever steroids he was taking. I guarantee in 11 days Juan Rincon will not become a mere mortal again.”
Rincon followed a strong 2005 season with a solid 2006, going 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 75 games, but his ERA jumped to 5.13 in 2007 and hovered in the 6.50 range for the next few years.
He has been with three teams since the Twins released him in 2008 and has appeared in just two major league games in the last two seasons.
Rincon’s contract does not include an invitation to big league camp, so he is not likely to cross paths with Scioscia any time soon. Scioscia went home sick Sunday morning, the first time in his 13 years as manager that he has missed a spring-training workout, and was not available for comment.