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OC Register: Angels manager Phil Nevin looking to protect his relievers early in the season


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ANAHEIM — Carlos Estévez said he wanted to pitch on Wednesday, but Phil Nevin told him to forget it.

“I didn’t want to be down,” the Angels’ reliever said on Friday. “But he said ‘I’m going to need you for 150-plus. I don’t need you for these two days.’ I understood that.”

Estévez had pitched on Sunday and Monday, but he had already had Tuesday off and Thursday was a scheduled off day, so it would not have raised any eyebrows if he’d pitched on Wednesday.

But Nevin, who is starting a season as a major league manager for the first time, has made it clear that he’s going to err on the side of caution with his relievers early in the season.

“We certainly have built them up to be able to go back-to-back days, and we’ve had a couple of guys do that,” Nevin said. “Estevez is one of them. Three out of four is pushing it for me right now.”

Nevin said it’s not simply about avoiding injury. It’s about performance.

“I want them to have good outings,” Nevin said. “I want them to be fresh and ready for those outings. … When you’re tired, you’re not getting the most out of them. I don’t have guys out there throwing 101-102 mph where there’s a little more margin for error. The guys I have, they need to be fresh and ready. There are certainly days where they’re going to have to pitch when they’re tired, and we’ll get to that point, but there’s no need to push it right now.”

Many around the Angels believe that’s exactly what happened last year, contributing to the team’s collapse after a hot start. Former manager Joe Maddon published a book last fall in which he clearly described disagreements with the Angels’ front office about how often he used certain relievers.

Left-hander Aaron Loup pitched five times in seven days in late April. He finished April with an 0.84 ERA. He then had a 10.13 ERA in May.

Right-hander Ryan Tepera pitched four times in six days in mid-May, lowering his ERA to 2.08. His next outing was a disaster in which he gave up five runs. A week later he blew another save, early in the Angels’ 14-game losing streak.

Right-handed closer Raisel Iglesias pitched three of the first four days of the season, and he went on back-to-back days three times in April. He had a 2.13 ERA on May 13, and then he went into a tailspin with two blown saves and two other losses over the next few weeks.

Tepera, a veteran of nine major league seasons, said he appreciates Nevin’s caution with his relievers.

“Obviously, the first month of the season, you’re still kind of getting in that mode of getting into midseason form,” Tepera said. “It’s a long season, so I appreciate what they do here. I’ve been on teams in the past where they completely wear you out and it’s not good for your career. Plus, we have plenty of guys who have experience closing, pitching late in the game.”

Left-hander José Quijada picked up the save with Estévez down on Wednesday. Tepera and Jimmy Herget split closer duties late last season after Iglesias was traded.

“I’m usually 60 games every year, and I know I’m gonna get there,” Estévez said. “But I like to (get the rest now) because we’ve got a good bullpen. Everyone can pitch. I appreciate the (caution) because when you’re a little sore or whatever, you can go to them and say ‘I need a day today,’ and they’ll understand. That’s something to appreciate.”

CANNING READY

Right-hander Griffin Canning, who is on the injured list because of a groin injury, said he is now 100% after a five-inning outing in a rehab start for Class-A Inland Empire on Thursday.

Canning threw 92 pitches, allowing one earned run. He struck out 10 and walked two.

“I really found my slider the last couple innings,” Canning said Friday. “The changeup was pretty good. Threw some good curveballs. Fastball velo was there, so feel pretty good about it.”

It’s undetermined what’s next for Canning. The Angels have an opening in the rotation for Wednesday. It could be left-hander Tucker Davidson, who is already on the active roster. If Davidson is needed in relief before that game, it could be Canning.

“We’re going to try to win these games and not map out who we’re going to start (Wednesday),” Nevin said.

ADELL’S START

Jo Adell has already hit three home runs in his first week at Triple-A. He’s also walked five times and struck out four times, which is most encouraging to Nevin.

“The swing decisions are something he really needed to improve on, and so far in the first six, seven games down there, he’s been really good with it,” Nevin said. “He keeps going and working, and I think that’s going to translate to the major leagues as well.”

Nevin said he talked to Adell and Mickey Moniak, who is also at Triple-A, to tell them he’s proud of how they’ve handled their demotion to start the season.

NOTES

Third baseman Anthony Rendon will be back on the active roster on Saturday, after completing his four-game suspension for the incident last weekend in Oakland. …

The Angels held a red carpet event before the game, with players and Nevin taking turns making like Hollywood stars to pose for pictures and speak to the fans. Nevin said it was awkward for him. “I had no idea where to put my hands,” Nevin said. “It’s a talent. I certainly don’t have the looks for it. You’re worried about how your hips are moving. I didn’t want to trip. I was looking for seams in the carpet.”

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP Tyler Anderson, 1-0, 0.00) vs. Blue Jays (RHP José Berrios, 0-1, 12.71), Saturday, 6:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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18 hours ago, Swordsman78 said:

Nevin is  a players coach which is why the players love him, but certain message board guys think they know better. 

That is completely counter to my best friend's interpretation of Nevin. He is a Padres fan and his description of Nevin is simply, he's an asshole. 

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7 hours ago, Blarg said:

That is completely counter to my best friend's interpretation of Nevin. He is a Padres fan and his description of Nevin is simply, he's an asshole. 

This explains alot.   The fact that opposing team think that about Nevin is exactly why his players love him.

Moving forward you would be better served paying no heed to dopey Padres fans and make your judgements on your own observations.  Or just ask me.

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