Andriese continues to impress in starting role
PHOENIX -- With Angels right-hander Griffin Canning set to the open the season on the injured list after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow on Thursday, it opens a spot in the rotation, which could be filled by right-hander Matt Andriese.
Andriese made his third outing of the spring in a 7-3 loss to the Brewers in split-squad action on Sunday, and he was impressive -- four scoreless innings, while allowing two hits and no walks. Andriese has a 1.00 ERA in nine innings this spring and has himself firmly in the rotation mix as the Angels decide how to fill out the last two spots of a rotation that includes veterans Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran.
“[The Brewers' hitters] were super aggressive today and I got some quick outs and felt great," Andriese said. "Not too many deep counts. That’s something we’ve been working on, getting an out in your first three pitches. It worked out good today. I was real happy about it.”
Andriese, acquired in an offseason trade with the D-backs, has experience as a starter and a reliever, but manager Joe Maddon said Andriese is being considered a starter right now. Andriese, 30, prefers starting, but he has been pitching exclusively in relief since the middle of the 2018 season. In five seasons in the Majors with the Rays and D-backs, Andriese has a career 4.64 ERA in 236 2/3 innings as a starter and a 4.50 ERA in 192 innings as a reliever.
Andriese is working on his slider this spring, as it’s a pitch he utilizes more when he starts than when he’s in relief. He hasn't thrown it much over the last four seasons, but Andriese did throw a slider regularly as a rookie in 2015.
“I think it just helps in general knowing I have three pitches I can use, and it doesn’t hurt to have a fourth,” Andriese said. “I’m used to it. I’d say starting is my thing I usually succeed more at.”
Andriese could take over Canning’s No. 4 spot in the rotation, which would still leave another spot to fill unless the Angels decide to go with four starters to open the season. Maddon hasn’t ruled that out, as with an off-day after their fourth game, the Angels wouldn’t need a fifth starter until April 4 against the Astros. And because of so many off-days in April, the Angels wouldn't need to use a fifth starter again until April 20 or April 21 against the Orioles, depending on their usage of their four starters.
Others in the rotation mix include right-hander Jaime Barria and left-handers Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez and Dillon Peters. Right-hander Félix Peña remains expected to open the year on the injured list as he recovers from right knee surgery in August. Andriese, though, isn’t focused on the rotation battle.
“I don’t really know that it’s a competition really,” Andriese said. “I just know that I’m scheduled to pitch every five days. Get my work in and go from there.”
Maddon said he’s had conversations with pitching coach Mickey Callaway and general manager Billy Eppler on how the rotation will shake out, but he isn’t quite ready to reveal their plans.
"I'm not gonna tell you everything yet, but there's things that we're working on right now that I kind of like,” Maddon said. “Like I have been telling you the whole camp, the pitching is better than you think. We're exploring different combinations. Mickey and I, and the guys and Billy, have talked about some other permutations and we're getting closer to be able to reveal the whole thing, but we're not there."
• Reliever Ty Buttrey showed solid velocity in his simulated game on Sunday with his fastball reaching 96 mph. Buttrey, who has been sidelined by an intercostal strain, is still on track to make his Cactus League debut on Wednesday.
• Catcher Josè Briceño has been slowed by an issue with his right shoulder and he hasn't appeared in a game since Feb. 26 against the Dodgers. Briceño was limited to just 22 games with Triple-A Salt Lake last season because of right shoulder troubles.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney, who was named the club's Opening Day starter on Sunday, will take the mound at 1:10 p.m. PT on Monday, when the Angels host the Indians at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Lefty Logan Allen will start for Cleveland. Watch on MLB.TV or listen to Gameday Audio.