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OC Register: Angels reliever Carlos Estévez has flipped switch after a rough spring

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SEATTLE — Carlos Estévez is looking to prove to the Angels what he proved to the Colorado Rockies.

The Angels reliever said the Rockies had to prepare themselves for the fact that he was going to be terrible in spring training.

“The Rockies always gave me a hard time,” Estévez said. “They’d say ‘Here we go again. He’s going to give up five runs and then say I’m good.’”

Estévez has a career 6.66 ERA in spring training, which included a 10.57 mark in nine games this spring with his new team.

For most of his Rockies career, though, he was able to flip the switch after a poor spring to be a reliable reliever during the regular season. So far he’s pitched two scoreless innings with the Angels since the season started.

“It’s a lot better,” Estévez said. “I’m more locked in. … Now it counts. Now I’m going for it. I was going through the motions sometimes in spring training.”

Estévez still isn’t quite where he wants to be, though. He has walked two and allowed a hit.

His fastball has averaged 95.6 mph in his first two games, compared with 97.5 mph last year.

“Early in the year I don’t throw as hard,” he said. “I’m not really good friends with the cold weather.”

Estévez also said he’s made some tweaks to his changeup and his slider, and he’s still expecting to see improvement in both of those pitches. He said he and the pitching coaches had a “long conversation” on Tuesday about an adjustment with his slider.

“I feel really good about it,” he said. “We made some changes playing catch. It feels really good.”

If Estévez can put everything together, the closer role is available to him. He still hasn’t done enough for Manager Phil Nevin to give him the job officially, though. For now, Nevin said each game situation will dictate which reliever finishes games.

Estévez said he understands that.

“Honestly, if we have three guys with 20 saves or 20-plus saves, that’s great,” Estévez said. “We’re going to be winning a lot of games. If I get to close, good, but if someone else does, that’s good too. We’ve got a lot of really good arms. I’m excited to see what we can do as a group.”


Right-hander Griffin Canning (groin) is scheduled to pitch for Class-A Inland Empire in a rehab game on Thursday.

That would put him in line to be available to start on April 12, which is the first time the Angels need a sixth starter.

Left-hander Tucker Davidson is seemingly the first choice for that start because he’s already on the roster, but if Davidson is needed in relief within a few days of April 12, the Angels might need to go to Plan B. That could be Canning starting or Jaime Barría starting and Canning taking Barria’s spot in the bullpen.


Outfielder Mickey Moniak has been out with a sore elbow at Triple-A Salt Lake, but it’s not considered serious. He is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday. …

Left-hander Ky Bush, the Angels’ top pitching prospect, has been throwing bullpen sessions. Bush missed most of spring training with an oblique issue, but the Angels are hoping to have him back on the mound in games by the end of the month. …

Infielder Gio Urshela was out of the lineup for the first time this season on Tuesday. Nevin said it was just a routine day off and not a reflection of his four-strikeout game on Monday. “I’ve seen him play a lot,” Nevin said. “Everybody has days like that, but he turns around and makes two really fine plays (defensively) late in the game.”


Angels (RHP Shohei Ohtani, 0-0, 0.00) at Mariners (RHP Chris Flexen, 0-0, 2.25), Wednesday, 1:10 p.m., T-Mobile Park, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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