The Angels opted for right-hander Vinnie Pestano over left-hander Joe Thatcher in the bullpen and contact-hitting Efren Navarro over power-hitting Brennan Boesch on the bench for their American League division series against the Kansas City Royals.
Final rosters had to be submitted by 10 a.m. Thursday. The best-of-five series begins Thursday night in Angel Stadium, with Game 1 scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Thatcher was acquired from Arizona on July 5 with the hope he would provide the Angels with the left-handed relief specialist they lacked, but he missed six weeks of August and September because of a left-ankle sprain and struggled to regain his form, going 1-1 with an 8.53 earned-run average in 16 games.
The sidearm-throwing Pestano, a former Cal State Fullerton standout who was acquired from Cleveland on Aug. 7 and called up from triple-A Salt Lake on Sept. 2, allowed only one earned run and five hits in 8 2/3 innings in 12 appearances with the Angels, striking out 10 and walking three.
Boesch has more power potential than Navarro and started 11 games in November at designated hitter or in the outfield, but he is more prone to strike out.
With Kansas City featuring three right-handed power arms—Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera—in the back of their bullpen, Navarro, who can play first base and the outfield and will likely platoon with C.J. Cron at DH, will have a better chance of putting the ball in play in a late-inning pinch-hit appearance.
The Angels, as expected, also chose Gordon Beckham over veteran defensive specialist John McDonald as their utility man.
McDonald spent the season as a late-inning defensive replacement for third baseman David Freese, but Beckham, acquired from the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 21, is a much better hitter and has shown he is capable of handling shortstop, third base and second.
The Angels playoff roster: Pitchers—RH Jered Weaver, RH Matt Shoemaker, LH C.J. Wilson, LH Hector Santiago, RH Huston Street, RH Joe Smith, RH Kevin Jepsen, RH Jason Grilli, RH Fernando Salas, RH Mike Morin, RH Cory Rasmus, RH Vinnie Pestano.
Lineup—RF Kole Calhoun, CF Mike Trout, 1B Albert Pujols, 2B Howie Kendrick, 3B David Freese, SS Erick Aybar, LF Josh Hamilton, DH C.J. Cron, C Chris Iannetta.