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OC Register: After a slow start, Angels’ Blake Parker is back to his comfort zone: proving himself


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ANAHEIM — Turns out that Blake Parker’s slow start this year might have been indirectly related to his outstanding season last year.

Parker had never come into a spring training with a guaranteed job and expectations. He’d always been the guy trying to win a spot, trying to make a name for himself.

For as much as he insisted that he was keeping the same mindset this spring, he now concedes that it might not have worked.

“Maybe I wasn’t completely ready like I should be,” he said on Friday. “I’m going to take it like a lesson.”

Veteran players often discount the results in spring training, because they are simply getting ready for opening day. For Parker, this was the first spring that he had the luxury of doing that.

He thinks maybe that position didn’t suit him.

“I just need to come in and go with what got me here, instead of just trying to get ready for opening day,” he said. “That’s not a routine that I’m used to. … I hate to call it my comfort zone, but that’s where I’ve been my whole career. I’ve never been a big name guy. I’ve always prided myself on proving myself.”

Parker, a 32-year-old who had never spent an entire season in the majors before posting a 2.54 ERA in 2017, was careful to say he didn’t blame his poor start on the way he approached spring training, just that it was something different.

There have also been mechanical issues that he’s been working to iron out throughout the first month of the season, he said.

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In his first eight games, he gave up nine hits and four walks in seven innings, with an ERA of 6.43. In the next nine games, he gave up 10 hits and two walks in 11 innings, with an ERA of 1.64.

“I think it just took me just working on one thing every day and finally putting it all together and having a few good outings in a row and using that to build off,” Parker said. “And having a couple zeroes helps your mentality.”

Parker’s underdog mentality was perhaps best demonstrated last year by the fact that he lived all season in a recreational vehicle, which he bought so it would be easy to go between the minors and majors. This year, with a new baby, he arranged for more traditional housing.

If the poor start had gone on too long, Parker quipped, he might have had to go back to the RV: “That would have been the next step.”

TROPEANO’S TURN

Nick Tropeano passed the tests of his two bullpen sessions this week, so he is expected to come off the disabled list to start on Saturday.

He will have missed the minimum 10 days with what the team described as shoulder inflammation. Tropeano never stopped throwing while he was on the disabled list, which gives the impression that the Angels were using the short DL stint for roster management.

The Angels will need to make another roster move to create a spot for Tropeano. Given how well Jaime Barría has pitched, it seems unlikely he’d go back down for the third time. The Angels could then finally have six starters on the active roster at once, a configuration they’ve had for just one day all season.

ALSO

Blake Wood (elbow impingement) had his second bullpen session on Friday. Manager Mike Scioscia said he’ll be evaluated, but it’s possible his next step could be a rehab assignment. …

Albert Pujols got the day off on Friday, so Shohei Ohtani hit cleanup for the second time.

UP NEXT

Angels (Nick Tropeano, 1-2, 3.42) vs. Twins (Kyle Gibson, 1-1, 3.49), Saturday, 6 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM)

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