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Angels acquire Rays pitcher Cesar Ramos for prospect Mark Sappington

Angels acquire Rays pitcher Cesar Ramos for prospect Mark Sappington
Tampa Bay Rays reliever Cesar Ramos pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in September. (Reinhold Matay / Associated Press)

Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto wasted no time putting his off-season plan into motion. Within two hours of trading catcher Hank Conger to Houston for two prospects on Wednesday, he acquired veteran left-hander Cesar Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league pitcher Mark Sappington.

Ramos, 30, has pitched as a starter and a reliever, but he is expected to fill a much-needed left-handed relief role for the Angels, who spent most of 2014 without an effective left-hander in their bullpen.

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A former Long Beach State teammate of Angels ace Jered Weaver, Ramos went 2-6 with a 3.70 earned run average in 43 games for the Rays last season, striking out 66 and walking 39 in 82 2/3 innings. He had a 2.92 ERA in 52 1/3 innings as a reliever and a 5.04 ERA in 30 1/3 innings as a starter.

Ramos was particularly effective in July and August, pitching to a 1.56 ERA in 17 1/3 innings, and he was tied for seventh in the American League with 13 relief outings of two innings or more.

Ramos, a first-round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2005, has a 5-11 career record and 3.90 ERA in 186 games over six seasons with the Padres and Rays. He opened last season in the bullpen, moved to the rotation in mid-April and back to the bullpen for good on May 20.

Sappington, a fifth-round pick out of Rockhurst (Mo.) University in 2012, struggled as a starter at double-A Arkansas and Class-A Inland Empire this season, going 2-11 with a 7.05 ERA, 69 walks and 65 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings.

But he thrived after moving to the bullpen in early July, finding better command of his fastball, which sits in the 96-mph range, and the sharpness of his slider.

Sappington was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a .207 opponents' batting average in 25 games as a reliever. He struck out 49 and walked 10 in 32 innings. By the end of the season, he was closing for Inland Empire.

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