Overworked Angels bullpen has already called for reinforcements

The Angels bullpen pitched 16 innings in the first four games of the season, less than only four other teams in baseball that have played four games or less. The unsustainable workload has already caused some shuffling of the roster.

In need of a fresh arm in the bullpen, the Angels recalled A.J. Achter from Triple-A on Saturday. Cam Bedrosian was sent down a day after his two wild pitches led to a Rangers run in Friday’s 7-3 loss to Texas.

Bedrosian, who has pitched two innings in four games, was likely just the odd man out, considering several Angels relievers can’t be sent down because they are out of options. Among those out of options is Cory Rasmus, a natural candidate to be sent to the minors after pitching 2 2/3 innings Friday courtesy of starter Matt Shoemaker’s abbreviated outing.

Achter posted impressive numbers in spring training, allowing just one earned run in 10 ⅔ innings. Continue reading

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Angels sign relief pitcher Jason Urquidez from the Atlantic League.

The Angels signed another former Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Monday, their second in the last two weeks. Right-hander pitcher Jason Urquidez also became the second Atlantic League pitcher to sign a minor-league contract with the Angels the last two days.

Urquidez, who had been pitching for the Lancaster (Pa.) Barnstormers, agreed to a minor-league contract and will be assigned to Triple-A Salt Lake. The 30-year-old appeared in 136 games (all in relief) for the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate between 2006 and 2011 without reaching the majors.

This season Urquidez made 39 relief appearances for the Barnstormers, posting a 3-1 record with 24 saves and a 0.25 earned-run average. The Tarzana native allowed 19 hits and seven walks while striking out 48. His one loss and both of his blown saves came as the result of unearned runs.

On July 24, the Angels claimed former D-Backs middle reliever J.C. Gutierrez off waivers.

On Sunday, the Angels signed veteran left-hander Dontrelle Willis out of the Atlantic League.

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Angels sign Dontrelle Willis to a minor-league contract.

The Angels have signed left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis, a 9-year major league veteran, to a minor-league contract. He will report to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Willis, 31, was pitching for the independent Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. He had a 2.56 earned-run average, with a 5-4 record and 52 strikeouts in 87 ⅔ innings, and started the Atlantic League All-Star game.

The signing was first reported by Newsday.

Willis hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2011, when he went 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts for the Cincinnati Reds. He split the 2011 season between Cincinnati and Triple-A Louisville, and became a free agent at the end of the season. His transactions log since reads like a set of Bob Dylan lyrics.

He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in December 2011 but was released March 16 the following year, in the middle of spring training. Four days later he showed up in Baltimore and was assigned to the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate after recovering from a sore forearm. Willis made just four appearances in Triple-A, going 0-3 with an 8.53 earned-run average, before announcing his retirement in July.

But in January he signed with the Chicago Cubs only to be released March 30, having made one start in spring training and leaving with a stiff left shoulder. He signed with the Long Island Ducks in April.

Willis won the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year award with the Florida Marlins. He’s also pitched for the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Reds in his major-league career, combining for a 72-69 record and a 4.17 ERA with 896 strikeouts in 205 games (202 starts).

Willis was originally drafted by the Cubs in the eighth round of the 2000 amateur draft.

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Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus dishes on brother Cory, the Angels’ newest prospect.

Colby Rasmus

Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus batted against his brother in a major-league game for the first time in May and hit a double. (Getty Images)

New Angels pitcher Cory Rasmus, acquired Monday in the Scott Downs trade with Atlanta, has an advance scout in the visitor’s clubhouse this weekend. A really-far-out-in-advance scout.

Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus is older than Cory by about 15 months. Cory isn’t with the Angels yet — he’s at Triple-A Salt Lake — but Colby has decent idea of what Angels fans can expect from his younger brother once he arrives.

“We played together from the time we was little bitty,” Colby Rasmus said.
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