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OC Register: Angels hope JC Ramírez will accept minor league assignment, work to regain velocity

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ANAHEIM — JC Ramírez’s lost velocity proved to be a significant issue for the Angels, who on Thursday removed him from the roster.

Ramírez, who was out of options, was outrighted. Because he’d been outrighted previously, he has a right to refuse the assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake and become a free agent.

The Angels would like to keep him, in hopes of trying to get him back to level he was before Tommy John surgery.

“If he were to go to Salt Lake, it would allow us to get him more regular work and hopefully that would aid in him returning to form,” Manager Brad Ausmus said.

Ramírez’s fastball averaged 95.5 mph in 2017, his breakthrough season as a starter. He pitched just twice in 2018 before needing surgery, and when he returned to the majors a few weeks ago, the velocity was still lacking. He averaged 91.0 mph in five games.

Ausmus said Ramírez’s repertoire was there, but the fastball wasn’t.

“I think the velocity difference was sizable,” Ausmus said. “The pitches themselves didn’t necessarily look that different other than the velocity change.”

Ramírez had allowed four runs in eight innings. He said after he returned that he knew the velocity was lacking, but he figured it would come back with time. Ausmus said last weekend that it could return by next season.

The Angels had a roster decision to make on Thursday, though, because Adalberto Mejia returned. He had been on the restricted list to attend to a personal matter. Once he returned, the Angels needed to put him on the active roster.

REMEMBERING SKAGGS

Chicago White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, a close friend and workout partner of Tyler Skaggs, will pitch on Friday at Angel Stadium for the first time since Skaggs’ death.

“It’s been tough,” Giolito told reporters on Thursday. “Coming back here is a bit weird. …  It would be much better if I can come out here and get some dinner like we were planning on doing, but it’s been tough.”

Giolito, who was born in Santa Monica and attended Harvard-Westlake High, has been wearing Skaggs’ number on his cap. He returned to Santa Monica for Skaggs’ memorial service last month.

“He was a great guy,” Giolito said. “A lot of things have been said about him over the past couple of months here but the biggest thing for me, the impact he left on me, was his attitude toward baseball, his attitude toward life. I carry a lot of that with me. It helped me, just the carefree, charismatic part. That’s who I am in our clubhouse. It’s definitely something I took from him when I was much younger.”

ALSO

Andrelton Simmons, who has a sprained ankle and bone bruise, said that he’s going to start swinging a bat on Saturday. Simmons still isn’t sure when he can return, though…

Tommy La Stella, who broke his leg, said he’s been walking on a treadmill and running on an anti-gravity treadmill. He has been throwing. He said he’s not sure when he’ll be back, but the initial timeline had him returning in late August or early September. …

Patrick Sandoval, a product of Mission Viejo High, on Friday will pitch for the first time at Angel Stadium, a park he said he attended about 50 times growing up as an Angels fan. He said he has at least 20 friends and another 20 family members that he knows will be at the game on Friday. …

Kevan Smith, on the injured list because of back spasms, said he feels like he could be ready to be activated when he’s eligible next Wednesday. Because the Angels are off next Thursday, though, he thinks they may wait until next Friday to activate him. …

Luke Bard, out with a bruised triceps from being hit by a line drive, is expected to be activated in the next day or two. …

Keynan Middleton is scheduled to pitch for Salt Lake on Friday. Middleton, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is expected to pitch two or three times at Triple-A before being activated, barring any setbacks. …

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 0-0, 5.59) vs. White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito, 12-6, 3.42), 7:07 p.m., Fox Sports West

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