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OC Register: Angels’ bullpen is about to feel a roster crunch, just in time for the trade deadline

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ANAHEIM – The Angels’ bullpen is about to transform. Again.

The return of right-handed reliever Jim Johnson from the disabled list is close, Manager Mike Scioscia said, as is the return of starting pitcher Jamie Barría from the minor leagues. On Saturday, Eduardo Paredes was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City for the 10th time this season, leaving Scioscia with nine different options for relieving starter Nick Tropeano. The Angels’ bullpen will consist of eight men before long, Scioscia said.

Scioscia did not mention the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but this also brings the potential for a shakeup.

There is, at the moment, a league-wide run on relief pitching. The Royals have already traded Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals. The Padres traded Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to the Indians on Thursday. The Mets traded Jeurys Familia to the A’s on Saturday. Orioles closer Zach Britton could be traded soon as well, according to multiple reports.

As more playoff contenders race to acquire arms, some Angels pitchers could be auditioning for scouts with each pitch. It so happens that the trade deadline coincides with an internal roster crunch for the Angels’ bullpen.

“There will be some moves,” Scioscia said of the days to come, “and I don’t know where they’re going to come from.”

Of the Angels’ eight opening-day relievers, only four have thrown a pitch in July. Yet this is emerging as the most successful month yet for the Angels’ bullpen.

On July 10, Hansel Robles threw a 99-mph fastball to Jean Segura, the fastest he’s thrown a baseball in almost two years. He entered Saturday’s game against the Astros riding a streak of eight consecutive scoreless outings. Josh Reddick’s home run Saturday was the first against left-hander Jose Alvarez since May 10.

Cam Bedrosian, Blake Parker, Justin Anderson and Taylor Cole have combined to make 22 appearances this month. The opponent scored in just four of them.

“They’ve done just fine,” Scioscia said of his bullpen. “The first-batter efficiency, things like that, become important with runners on base. They’ve thrown more innings than virtually any bullpen in our league.”

Only the Rays, Padres and Marlins have logged more innings than the Angels’ bullpen. The Rays, who have strategically deployed “bullpen games” for most of the season, lead the league in relief innings by a wide margin.

“I think they’ve responded very well, especially with some of the guys that we’ve put a lot of faith in to be big parts of our bullpen who are injured,” Scioscia continued. “I think (catcher) Martin Maldonado has done a terrific job understanding each guy and (bullpen coach) Scott Radinsky has them prepared.”


Shohei Ohtani played catch for the third consecutive day, this time extending to 90 feet from his target. Ohtani was medically cleared to resume a throwing program on Thursday after his latest evaluation showed sufficient healing in his right ulnar collateral ligament.

Pitcher Matt Shoemaker (strained right forearm) said he is throwing from flat ground at a distance of 90 feet. While Scioscia expressed confidence Ohtani will return this season if his rehabilitation progresses on schedule, he said that Shoemaker’s prognosis is being evaluated “one workout at a time.”

Shoemaker was more confident.

“I can’t give you a date yet,” he said, “but I see myself being back by the end of this year.”

The right-hander has been limited to one start this season due to his injury.

Scioscia said there is no timetable for the return of outfielder Chris Young, who hasn’t played since July 3 because of a strained left hamstring.


During the All-Star break, a wall near the entrance to Angel Stadium was painted with a display reflecting Albert Pujols’ career statistics, and his place on the list of all-time leaders for hits, doubles, home runs, extra base hits and RBI. The display is located to the right of the home plate entrance, around the corner from the team store. … The Angels announced all but one of their probable starters for a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox beginning Monday. Felix Peña will start Tuesday against left-hander Carlos Rodon; Tyler Skaggs will start Wednesday against right-hander James Shields; Nick Tropeano will start Thursday against right-hander Dylan Covey … As for Monday, Barría is expected to be recalled from Class-A affiliate Inland Empire to oppose right-hander Lucas Giolito.


Angels (LHP Andrew Heaney, 5-6, 3.78 ERA) vs. Houston (RHP Lance McCullers, 10-4, 3.77 ERA), 1 p.m., Fox Sports West

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