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Feeling healthy, Bedrosian aims for strong '18

Angels right-hander had lingering groin injury last season
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- In 2016, Cam Bedrosian seemed poised to become the Angels' closer of the future after enjoying a breakout campaign. He logged a 1.12 ERA over 45 appearances before undergoing season-ending surgery to treat a blood clot in his right arm.

The 26-year-old appeared to continue his trajectory toward the back end of the Angels' bullpen last year, when he did not allow a run during Spring Training and worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings over his first six regular-season appearances.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- In 2016, Cam Bedrosian seemed poised to become the Angels' closer of the future after enjoying a breakout campaign. He logged a 1.12 ERA over 45 appearances before undergoing season-ending surgery to treat a blood clot in his right arm.

The 26-year-old appeared to continue his trajectory toward the back end of the Angels' bullpen last year, when he did not allow a run during Spring Training and worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings over his first six regular-season appearances.

But Bedrosian then sustained a groin strain, which cost him nearly two months. He returned to action in July, but he now admits that the malady lingered and hindered his performance. After coming off the disabled list, Bedrosian recorded a 5.21 ERA over his final 42 games of the season.

"Unfortunately, I think it had a pretty big effect on the way I pushed off the mound," Bedrosian said. "I didn't really notice it until some coaches started saying stuff to me, saying that it looked different. When I tested it against my other side, I could tell that it was weaker. When you're that far in the season, it's really tough to get it back to normal. All season, I was kind of battling it. It was kind of an uphill battle with it."

Video: LAA@SEA: Bedrosian fans Ruiz to earn the save

To prevent a recurrence of the injury, Bedrosian worked to strengthen his lower body during the offseason, with a specific focus on the groin and adductor areas.

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"That was one big part of my offseason program, trying to get this back healthy, at 100 percent," Bedrosian said. "It's feeling good so far. Hopefully this year it's a different story."

The Angels' bullpen exceeded expectations in 2017, posting a 3.92 ERA, the fifth-best mark in the American League. But three of the club's most valuable relievers -- Yusmeiro Petit, Bud Norris and David Hernandez -- are no longer with the team, creating some holes in the back end of the bullpen and making the need for a bounce-back season from Bedrosian even more crucial.

Bedrosian, Blake Parker, Jim Johnson and Keynan Middleton are projected to be relied upon the most in high-leverage situations, though it's unclear if the Angels will name an official closer in 2018.

"Of course, I'd love to be the back-end guy," Bedrosian said. "That's what I want to do, but like I said the other day, it's their decision, and I'm going to do whatever I can to make that decision for them. If not, I'm going to be there, and I'll go out there and hopefully get three outs."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Cam Bedrosian