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OC Register: With newfound passion for the game, Ty Buttrey looks to return to Angels

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Just about a year ago, Ty Buttrey admitted something that many people couldn’t understand.

He said that playing major league baseball — a dream job for millions — wasn’t fun for him anymore. He said he lacked the passion required to be a big league pitcher, so he walked away.

Now, Buttrey is admitting something else: He was wrong.

“I just looked at the situation incorrectly at the time,” the Angels reliever said this week, after reporting to big league camp to try to revive the career that he felt he’d ended last year.

Buttrey had a rough spring in 2021, and just before Opening Day, just after the Angels announced that they were optioning him to Triple-A, Buttrey surprisingly announced his retirement.

Many cynically suggested that Buttrey was upset that the Angels had sent him down after he’d been a major piece of the bullpen in 2019 and 2020. Buttrey’s statement at the time indicated that wasn’t the case, and this time he said he would have no issue if the Angels want to send him down.

“I’ll go to Double-A,” he said. “I’ll go to High A. I’ll go to Low A. I’ll stay (in Arizona). That’s the cool thing. There was always a fear of failure and having to impress people. Now, literally my job is to work out, eat healthy, train and throw baseballs. I get paid to do it. I get to interact with awesome fans. That’s a freakin’ awesome job.

“I just didn’t have that perspective last time. I don’t care where I play. I love throwing hard. I love striking guys out. I love throwing nasty pitches. I’ll do that wherever I can.”

The Angels have welcomed Buttrey back, because at the moment there is no downside. Buttrey was placed on the restricted list when he walked away last year, and he’s still on the restricted list. The rules allow the Angels 30 days from when he returned for them to make a decision about returning him to the 40-man roster.

In the meantime, he can only pitch in B games or minor league games.

Once the Angels have seen enough, they still have choices. They could add him to the 40-man roster and option him to the minors. They could also designate him for assignment, hope he clears waivers, and then outright him to the minor leagues.

The best case scenario is that Buttrey eventually returns to the form he showed in 2018 and 2019, when he posted a 3.86 ERA over 86 games. In 2019, manager Brad Ausmus treated Buttrey as his most versatile weapon out of the bullpen, often using him in the game’s highest leverage spot, no matter the inning.

In 2020, under Manager Joe Maddon, Buttrey was inconsistent. And the following spring, he didn’t make the team.

In his statement after he retired, he said that once he’d reached the big leagues he had accomplished his goal.

“I completely lost the drive to continue doing something that I didn’t love because in my mind, I already accomplished it,” he wrote.

Buttrey, 28, then spent the year being active on social media, promoting various products, getting involved with crypto currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He and his wife, Sam, took a trip to St. Croix, in the Virgin Islands, and they planned to live there. He was going to take classes and she would teach dance.

“One thing led to another, started talking to some people, and saw that there wasn’t really any baseball there,” Buttrey said.

So he created a camp for young kids and teenagers, teaching them about baseball and other life skills. That’s where Buttrey’s love for the game was reborn.

“Just them lighting up at the opportunity to play baseball, it kind of sparked something in me that wasn’t really there,” Buttrey said. “I enjoyed coaching. I enjoyed talking about the game. I enjoyed being there all day, just helping these kids.”

Buttrey said he decided at the beginning of December that he wanted to come back to the Angels, but the lockout prevented him from having any contact with the team.

He enlisted the help of former Angels pitching coach Doug White and former Angels strength coaches Lee Fiocchi and Sean Johnson to help him get physically ready to return.

Once the lockout ended and Maddon and general manager Perry Minasian were able to get a look at Buttrey, they were encouraged.

“He’s looked really good,” Minasian said. “With that being said, he hasn’t pitched in a long time. We’re going to work off him and what he’s comfortable doing. … He’s going to go at his own pace. But I’m excited. I think he’s going to help us at some point.”

Buttrey said so far he’s felt welcomed by the organization and his teammates.

“Everyone’s welcomed me back with open arms,” he said. “Everyone respected my decision. Now it’s about earning a job.”


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5 minutes ago, opensky92092 said:

Post under your real name so I can pray for you accordingly. I think you live near me, I would love to meet up with you! ❤️


A word of advice: Best for your health not to take things said on here very seriously. That goes double if you're related to Ty. It's an eclectic mix of hooligans that are loose with their words on the internet.


Most people on here I'm sure wish Ty well this season. Sports fans are fickle.

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3 hours ago, Make Angels Great Again said:


A word of advice: Best for your health not to take things said on here very seriously. That goes double if you're related to Ty. It's an eclectic mix of hooligans that are loose with their words on the internet.


Most people on here I'm sure wish Ty well this season. Sports fans are fickle.

Even if he is on dodgers?

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