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OC Register: Angels call on trio of relievers to bolster bullpen


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ANAHEIM ― The Angels gained three new relief pitchers Sunday.

It would help if all three could stick around for a while.

Right-handers Jacob Webb and Reyes Moronta had their contracts purchased from Triple-A Salt Lake, and left-hander Aaron Loup was activated from the 10-day injured list. Three others ― right-handers Jimmy Herget, Andrew Wantz and Zack Weiss ― were optioned to Salt Lake.

Activating Loup gives the Angels three left-handers in their bullpen, along with Tucker Davidson and Matt Moore.

Webb, 29, spent spring training with the Angels as a non-roster invitee after signing a minor league contract in November. The Angels are his third team in the last year; he split 2022 with the Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks, appearing in 34 Triple-A games.

The Riverside native was 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 16 games at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Moronta, 30, has pitched for six organizations in the last nine months.

“It’s not difficult,” Moronta said through an interpreter. “It’s the same baseball. The only thing that changes is the uniform.”

His odyssey began with the Dodgers, who designated him for assignment last August because he could not be optioned to the minor leagues. Moronta had a 4.18 ERA in 22 games with the Dodgers, and was claimed by the  Diamondbacks two days later.

Moronta appeared in another 17 games last year with the Diamondbacks, going 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA. He signed a minor league free agent contract with the Texas Rangers in January, but was released in March. He then spent three weeks with the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League before the Angels signed him to a minor league contract May 11.

In 175 career games, all in relief, Moronta is 10-11 with a 3.02 ERA. He possesses a mid-90s fastball and a slider, and a changeup that he throws only to left-handed batters.

“He’s a hard worker,” said manager Phil Nevin, who was the Giants’ third base coach in 2017 when Moronta was also in San Francisco. “Takes the ball any time. He’s the kind of guy who would bounce back real quick. He wants the ball all the time. He’s not afraid. He’s going to come right after you. Really good fastball. If you saw the video down in Salt Lake, he’s pitching the same way.”

For Wantz, it’s the third time he has been optioned to the minor leagues this season. Players can only be optioned five times in a single year, but Wantz has been on a perpetual shuttle to Salt Lake because he’s among few pitchers in the bullpen with minor-league options.

After allowing just one earned run in his first 10 appearances of the season, Wantz has now allowed seven runs, all earned, in his last four outings.

Their struggles have added to the growing difficulty the Angels have found getting the ball to Moore, their most reliable set-up man, and closer Carlos Estevez. Herget has a 4.38 ERA in 12 games. Weiss has allowed three hits and a run while recording only five outs.

“That’s where we’ve had some issues,” Nevin said. “The back end, obviously, has been very solid. We’re adding two guys who have pitched in the big leagues a lot.”

ALSO

The Angels have not announced a starting pitcher for Monday’s game against the Boston Red Sox. Griffin Canning is scheduled to start Tuesday, followed by Tyler Anderson Wednesday. The Red Sox will counter with right-handers Tanner Houck on Monday and Brayan Bello on Tuesday. They have not announced Wednesday’s starter.

UP NEXT

Angels (TBD) vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Tanner Houck, 3-3, 5.48 ERA), 6:38 p.m., Monday, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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