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Halos take wait-and-see approach to closer role

Bullpen among final roster decisions as Opening Day nears
Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Angels still have some decisions remaining for their Opening Day bullpen, but settling on a closer does not seem to be one of them.

Asked if a set closer is one of his objectives with the season opener looming on Thursday in Oakland, manager Mike Scioscia sounded like his ninth-inning guy would be a work in progress

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ANAHEIM -- The Angels still have some decisions remaining for their Opening Day bullpen, but settling on a closer does not seem to be one of them.

Asked if a set closer is one of his objectives with the season opener looming on Thursday in Oakland, manager Mike Scioscia sounded like his ninth-inning guy would be a work in progress

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"We have a number of guys we think are going to be able to pitch in the ninth inning if we have a lead," Scioscia said. "But let's wait and see how the game plays out."

Scioscia also didn't say who would be his Opening Day starter, although the honor is believed to be lined up for Garrett Richards.

The Angels seem set on a group of relievers that includes right-handers Blake Parker, Cam Bedrosian, Jim Johnson, Blake Wood and Keynan Middleton, as well as left-hander Jose Alvarez. Right-handers Noe Ramirez and Felix Pena remain in camp, as does Rule 5 Draft pick Luke Bard.

Video: LAA@TEX: Bard strikes out Marte swinging in the 8th

If Bard does not make the roster, he must be offered back to his original club, the Minnesota Twins.

"There are some things we're finetuning going into the last couple of days," Scioscia said Sunday. "Much like last year, I think these guys understand that when they get the ball their job is to go get outs. If roles develop, great. We definitely need a group of guys who can pitch and hold leads."

Of the pitchers lined up for a spot in the Angels' bullpen, Parker had the most saves in 2017 with eight, while Bedrosian had six. 

Bring down the fences
The Angels got their first look at the new dimensions during Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Dodgers at Angel Stadium, with a lower wall in right field. The wall is now a more uniform eight feet tall, aside from the short wall by the foul poles in each corner. It had been as high as 18 feet in right field.

"It changes the ballpark a little bit, but it's a home run for everybody," said Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun, a left-handed hitter who could end up benefiting from the change. "Games are going to be a little bit different, but you adjust to your surroundings."

The shorter right-field wall also has some give to it, unlike the older one that was more of a solid mass. Center fielder Mike Trout tested that softer wall while trying to rob Yasiel Puig of a home run in the seventh inning, but the drive was just out of his reach.

Despite the wall changes, Calhoun seemed more interested in the stadium's new vibrant scoreboards, with a large square one in left field and a new horizontal one towering over the field in right.

"I think just visually it looks awesome out there with the new scoreboards," he said.

Taking the DH to LA
The Freeway Series will move across town to Dodger Stadium on Monday and Tuesday, with the Angels still planning to use a designated hitter.

"We'll have a DH and anticipate Shohei [Ohtani] getting some at-bats," Scioscia said.

Ohtani has just three hits in 28 at-bats this spring (.107), with a 27.00 ERA on the mound in two Cactus League games. But the Angels were pleased by his outing in an intrasquad game Saturday.

Video: COL@LAA: Ohtani catches LeMahieu looking in the 1st

Before Sunday's game, Ohtani waited in the lobby between the teams' clubhouses to say hello to Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda, a fellow native of Japan. Both players offered a cordial greeting to each other with big smiles before Maeda retreated back to the Dodgers' clubhouse to prepare for his start.

Cozart, Trout locked in
Angels infielder Zack Cozart hit a home run in the second inning Sunday, his second in three days, with both coming against the Dodgers. It gave him four home runs during the spring. Trout also hit a home run in the fourth inning, his third of the spring.

Up next
With the Freeway Series shifting to Dodger Stadium on Monday, the Angels will send right-hander Matt Shoemaker to the mound opposite Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT. The game will be available on MLB.TV.

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels