Angels manager Mike Scioscia said his pitching staff “will have a more situational look in the bullpen” when the regular season begins. It’s not hard to figure out what that means, as there are 15 pitchers currently in camp and 12 will start the season on the active roster.
We can cross two names off the list: Ryan Madson and Andrew Taylor. Neither will be healthy to start the season, Madson because of his surgically repaired elbow and Taylor because of a torn labrum in his shoulder. Taylor figures to start the season in the minors once he’s healthy.
After Ernesto Frieri, Sean Burnett, Scott Downs, Kevin Jepsen, Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams, that leaves David Carpenter and Mitch Stetter on the bubble for the potential final spot in the bullpen. The Angels could also keep both pitchers in the majors and send Richards, a potential sixth or seventh starter, to Triple-A Salt Lake to begin the season.
Scioscia wouldn’t say which way he is leaning on Richards, only that “he’s obviously been a bright spot in what has been a rough spring for many of our pitchers.”
Richards has allowed three earned runs in 14 ⅓ innings this spring, a 1.88 earned-run average. The Angels had a 6.96 team ERA going into Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.
Carpenter, a right-hander, has a 3.86 ERA this spring (9 ⅓ innings, four earned runs) with five walks and 11 strikeouts in 10 appearances. Stetter was bothered by a bad back for most of camp and allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning when he debuted on March 17. The left-hander hasn’t allowed a run in his last three appearances.
A non-roster invitee to camp, Stetter would have to be added to the 40-man roster. The Angels have room — three open spots once Vernon Wells is removed. Even though there are already two left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster in Burnett and Downs, nothing says “a more situational look” than Stetter’s career stats:
Two bullpen-related injury updates:
– Madson came out of Sunday’s bullpen session healthy. His progress has come in fits and starts this spring, but a rehabilitation game is within sight as long as he has no setbacks. Right now, it looks like he could be pitching for the Angels by the end of April.
– Jepsen is becoming a safe bet to begin the season healthy after a strained right triceps sidelined him earlier this month. He pitched one inning and allowed one run Monday against the Chicago White Sox. “We’ll see where he is but he needs a little bit of stamina,” Scioscia said. “He needs a couple more. He should have enough work to be ready for the season if he finishes his outings now.”