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OC Register: Matt Wise settles in as Angels’ interim pitching coach

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LOS ANGELES — Matt Wise has had a smooth transition as the Angels’ interim pitching coach save for a few tasks that will improve with experience.

Wise said Monday he forgot to signal bench coach Mike Gallego after concluding a mound meeting during Sunday’s exhibition game against the Dodgers.

“The biggest challenge is knowing what to do with your hands when you run off the mound,” said Wise, the team’s bullpen coach before being promoted on Feb. 16.

Outside of a few new requirements, Wise said the new role has gone well because he’s familiar with most of the pitchers. He’s in his 10th season as a coach in the Angels’ organization and is a former minor league pitching coordinator.

“The one thing that’s been probably a little bit easier for me sliding into this spot is knowing the guys and having relationships with a pretty good chunk of them,” said Wise, a Montclair native and Bonita High graduate. “I know some of the guys that want more (coaching) and some guys that are just, like, ‘Give me the ball and let me have at it.’”

Wise was promoted abruptly because the Angels suspended pitching coach Mickey Callaway after reports in which multiple women accused him of lewd behavior over the past five years.

“He’s going to be a very good major league coach for many years to come,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Wise. “He needed opportunity. It came around this way this time, but eventually he would have been ready regardless.”

It was a sudden change with a delayed start for Wise, who missed the beginning of spring training because he tested positive for COVID-19. Once Wise returned, that’s when the smooth transition started for the former right-handed pitcher who played for the Angels between 2000 and 2002.

Wise said he focused on getting Shohei Ohtani’s “fastball a little closer to game speed” during spring training. Ohtani started on the mound Monday and hit second in their lineup for the exhibition game at Dodger Stadium.

“He’s very methodical in his work,” Wise said of Ohtani. “Always has a plan, very curious and into the technology we can provide for him. So, his size of work has been really fun to watch.”

Wise has also encouraged Griffin Canning to throw his changeup more and said he’s eager to watch Chris Rodriguez blossom during the regular season. Wise was Rodriguez’s pitching coach in the minors.

“It’s a great environment,” Wise said of his new role, “where no one feels like it’s one guy in charge. We literally sit around and spit ball and come up with decisions based on … sometimes it’s analytical, sometimes it’s gut and experience.

“There’s a lot more action in the dugout than in the bullpen, so the games go by a lot more faster. So far it’s been a ton of fun.”


The Angels continued to tinker with their bullpen on Monday, announcing that they had agreed to one-year, $1 million contracts with left-hander Tony Watson and right-hander Steve Cishek, both of whom were released by their teams last week. They also acquired right-hander James Hoyt from the Miami Marlins in exchange for cash considerations.

Watson, 35, appeared in seven spring training games (five innings) for the Phillies before being granted his release on Friday. The former Dodger has a 40-25 career record with 32 saves and a 2.80 ERA over 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2011-17), Dodgers (2017) and San Francisco Giants (2018-20). Since 2011, he leads all active left-handers in appearances.

Cishek, 34, made seven appearances for Houston during spring training and compiled 12 strikeouts in 7-2/3 innings before being granted his release on Thursday. He has a 32-37 career record with 132 saves and a 2.78 ERA in 11 major-league seasons with the Marlins (2010-15), St. Louis Cardinals (2015), Seattle Mariners (2016-17), Tampa Bay Rays (2017), Chicago Cubs (2018-19) and White Sox (2020).

Hoyt, 34, posted a 4.26 ERA in 6-1/3 innings of relief work in eight spring training games for the Marlins. Last season, Hoyt appeared out of the bullpen in 24 games for the Marlins and had a 1.23 ERA. He has a 4-1 career record with an ERA of 3.71 in five seasons with the Houston Astros (2016-18), Cleveland Indians (2019) and Marlins (2020). Hoyt also has a minor-league option left, which provides some flexibility.

Monday’s additions and the impending signing of Noe Ramirez will complicate the Angels’ bullpen rotation. But it’s possible several of the newcomers won’t be available in time for Thursday’s home opener against the Chicago White Sox. It usually takes players a few days to clear the intake process.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Luke Bard was placed on the 60-day injured list.

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