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OC Register: Angels hoping pitch timer leads to fresher legs late in the season


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TEMPE, Ariz. — They’ve been doing the math in Angels camp this spring.

The new pitch timer has shortened games by 25 minutes from last spring. If that figure holds during the regular season, and you multiply it by 162 games, that’s about 67.5 hours.

“How much better is your body going to feel?” Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe asked. “I haven’t done that, so I don’t really know, but you’re basically cutting off a whole game at the end of every week.”

Angels players and managers Phil Nevin obviously don’t know yet what the impact of the pitch timer will be on the way they feel later in the season, but there was universal optimism that it will be beneficial.

“Anytime you’re off your feet, I think it will help you,” catcher Max Stassi said. “I think it will make a big difference.”

The game itself isn’t changing. Players will still come to bat the same number of times, throw the same number of pitches, run the same distance. But one of the stresses on a player’s body is simply the time spent on his feet.

“For infielders and outfielders, you’re standing there, your lower back hurts, especially on turf fields,” Renfroe said.

The other side of the question is that players will need to go a little quicker.

“It might end up making guys more sore,” third baseman Anthony Rendon said. “In the dog days of July or August, if you’ve done something faster, does that mean you’re going to get sore quicker, get tired quicker? Maybe it will have the opposite affect? But it will save legs down the road.”

For now, nobody knows for sure.

“I’m anxious to see how it plays out, how guys feel in June and July and when it’s getting hot on the field,” Nevin said. “You’re not standing out there as long. The counter to that is that pitchers are going to have to work quicker, and those starters that go deeper into games might need a blow more than others. We’ve got to live it and see how it goes.”

PASSED THE TEST

Chris Rodriguez threw 20 pitches in a live batting practice session, the first time he faced a hitter since before his shoulder surgery in 2021.

Rodriguez said afterward that he felt “really good.” He also said he doesn’t know what the next step is. The Angels will see how he feels in the coming days and make a plan.

For now, he’s content with this step.

“It’s just been such a long road, long and kind of bunch of obstacles in the way,” Rodriguez said. “I was really excited to get out. I was having a smile on my face the whole entire day. I was really happy to get out there for sure.”

NOTES

Patrick Sandoval’s final exhibition start was scheduled for Sunday at Dodger Stadium in the Freeway Series, but it’s now going to be in a minor league game in Arizona. Nevin said they wanted to have Sandoval in a controlled, low-stress environment after his previous two outings in the World Baseball Classic, facing Team USA and Japan. Sandoval gave up one run in 7-1/3 innings. …

Right-hander Fernando Romero, who signed a minor league deal and was invited to big league camp, never made it to Angels camp because of visa problems. Romero, 28, has had his locker removed from the Angels clubhouse. Nevin said Tuesday he has no update on when Romero might arrive in the country. …

Right-hander Evan Marshall, who signed a minor league deal with the Angels last week, is throwing but not pitching in games. He is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The Angels are hoping he can be pitching in games by the end of April. “A quality major league arm when he’s ready,” Nevin said.

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39 minutes ago, Angel Oracle said:

Maybe looking at May 1 for CRod pitching in a MLB game?

I guess he goes to the minors and gets built up as a starter so maybe later in the year.  If they decide to use him out of the bullpen it might be May 1.

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