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Patchwork bullpen exceeding expectations

Angels' relievers called upon for extra duty amid injuries
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- The Angels have seen their bullpen depth eroded by injuries this season. Their top three relievers -- Huston Street, Andrew Bailey and Cam Bedrosian -- are on the disabled list. JC Ramirez, arguably their fourth-best reliever, was pressed into the rotation following an injury to right-hander Garrett Richards.

Their absences have forced the Angels to assemble a patchwork bullpen, one that was supplemented earlier this week by the acquisition of veteran right-hander David Hernandez, who opened the season in the Braves' Triple-A affiliate. Of the seven relievers who are currently in the Angels' bullpen, only Jose Alvarez and Brooks Pounders were on the club's 40-man roster at the beginning of Spring Training.

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ANAHEIM -- The Angels have seen their bullpen depth eroded by injuries this season. Their top three relievers -- Huston Street, Andrew Bailey and Cam Bedrosian -- are on the disabled list. JC Ramirez, arguably their fourth-best reliever, was pressed into the rotation following an injury to right-hander Garrett Richards.

Their absences have forced the Angels to assemble a patchwork bullpen, one that was supplemented earlier this week by the acquisition of veteran right-hander David Hernandez, who opened the season in the Braves' Triple-A affiliate. Of the seven relievers who are currently in the Angels' bullpen, only Jose Alvarez and Brooks Pounders were on the club's 40-man roster at the beginning of Spring Training.

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Nevertheless, the Angels' bullpen has performed well, pitching to a 4.20 ERA, which ranks 18th in the Majors. The Halos' bullpen has also shouldered a heavy workload with 75 innings in relief, the third-highest in the Majors.

"I would say that our bullpen has done a tremendous job under the circumstances," manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday. "A lot of these guys have been challenged, and I think they've been holding up very well. But I think that our bullpen will continue to evolve with the depth that we need."

Some of the biggest bright spots for the Angels this year have relievers who made the club out of Spring Training as non-roster invitees: Yusmeiro Petit (1.59 ERA), Blake Parker (2.61 ERA) and Bud Norris (3.38 ERA).

Norris, who has spent most of his MLB career as a starter, has emerged as a particularly versatile, multi-inning relief option for the Angels and moved toward the back end of the bullpen following the injuries to Bedrosian, Street and Bailey. While Scioscia has not officially named him the interim closer, Norris has picked up two saves since Saturday -- the first two of his career.

"The stuff's there," Scioscia said. "It's kind of a new neighborhood for him, just being in the bullpen, let alone being pushed to the back end. Not that he's necessarily going to close every game, but the way it's worked out he's pitched the ninth inning and done a good job the last couple opportunities he had."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels