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OC Register: Angels acquire Chris Stratton from Giants, add him to starting rotation

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LOS ANGELES — Chris Stratton, the Angels’ new right-handed pitcher, will meet the ballclub in Oakland for Opening Day on Thursday.

The Angels announced late Monday night that they acquired Stratton from the San Francisco Giants in a trade for left-handed relief prospect Williams Jerez.

“(He) brings pitching depth, for sure,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said of Stratton before Tuesday’s game at Dodger Stadium, the final spring training tune-up before rosters must be finalized by Thursday at 1:05 p.m.

“He’s a starting pitcher with major-league experience. You’re gonna need at least a dozen starting pitchers over the course of a season, and he helps us accomplish that.”

Stratton, 28, has bounced between the Giants’ triple-A affiliate and the major leagues for the past three seasons.

San Francisco’s first-round pick in the 2012 draft, he made 48 appearances (including starting 36 games) and threw 213-2/3 innings in the big leagues between 2016 and 2018. He had a 4.63 earned-run average in that time, which included some promising stretches. He had career highs in starts (26), innings (145) and strikeouts (112) last season.

He has above-average spin rate, with a four-seam spin of 2,448 revolutions per minute (the major league average is 2,264). His curveball’s spin rate is 3,109 rpm (compared with the average 2,491).

The Giants appeared primed to use Stratton – who is out of minor league options – as a long reliever, but Ausmus confirmed that he’ll be a starter with the Angels, joining a rotation that is expected to consist of Trevor Cahill, Matt Harvey, Tyler Skaggs and Felix Peña.

Andrew Heaney, who pitched a team-leading 180 innings last season, will start this season on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Before Tuesday’s game, the Angels also optioned right-hander Jaime Barria to triple-A Salt Lake and released left-hander Dan Jennings.

Patrick Sandoval, a 22-year-old left-hander, started Tuesday in place of Barría. Sandoval, a Mission Viejo High product, was acquired in the Martín Maldonado trade with the Houston Astros last summer.

Releasing Jennings leaves the Angels without a left-hander in their bullpen, but that didn’t concern Ausmus.

“Ultimately we gotta go with the seven, eight best relievers we can that will help us win games,” Ausmus said. “I’ve been part of teams where we didn’t have lefties in the bullpen before, so it’s certainly not unheard of.”


Left fielder Justin Upton will start the season on the injured list with a turf toe injury, Ausmus said.

The 31-year-old Upton, who missed most of spring training with right knee tendinitis, hurt his left big toe when he ran into the wall while chasing a Max Muncy double in the first inning of Sunday’s game. Two days later, Ausmus said there was no timeline for his return.

“We’re still waiting for all the doctors to look at all the images,” Ausmus said. “It’s being classified as a turf toe injury.”

The manager said Peter Bourjos was an option to fill in for Upton, who hit .257 with 85 RBIs last season but only that he “is one of them.”

“Right now,” Ausmus said, “we still have to get all the information on Upton, the time frame of the injury.”


Ausmus said he expects Shohei Ohtani to begin batting practice outside “very soon.”

As last season’s American League Rookie of the Year rehabs from the Tommy John surgery he had on Oct. 1, he’s been taking batting practice in the cage and before that hitting soft toss and off a tee for several weeks.

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