TEMPE, Ariz. -- Cory Rasmus spent the entirety of his first full year in professional baseball, and the vast majority of his second one, recovering from shoulder issues. He missed the first three months of the 2009 season and was limited to 27 1/3 innings in 2011 by injuries to
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Cory Rasmus spent the entirety of his first full year in professional baseball, and the vast majority of his second one, recovering from shoulder issues. He missed the first three months of the 2009 season and was limited to 27 1/3 innings in 2011 by injuries to his right arm. At several points in his Minor League career, Rasmus -- the second player drafted by the Braves in 2006 -- basically resigned himself to the belief that he would never sniff the Major Leagues.
In some weird way, it helped him.
"I'm never really on edge," Rasmus said. "I'm never really worried about a whole lot. I feel that if I can go out there and do whatever I'm supposed to do, I'll be here. If I can't, that's just how it's going to be."
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This year, Rasmus is out of options for the first time, and he's hoping to recapture some of the magic he displayed out of the Angels' bullpen in 2014, while also fighting to recover from the injury-plagued season that followed it.
Now 28, Rasmus finished 2014 with a 2.57 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 56 innings. In 2015, he had to have a hernia repaired after being injured covering first base in March, missed three months, tried to compensate for a weakened core, then strained his forearm and never really felt right, finishing the 2015 season with a 5.23 ERA in 16 Major League appearances.
This year, Rasmus said, "I feel a lot stronger."
He knows the difference.
"I've had a lot of injuries in my career," Rasmus said. "It's been a long road to get to this point. I don't get here and take anything for granted. It's almost like every day I have to go out there and, first off, prove to myself, second of all, come out here and show everybody that I'm capable of competing with these guys."
The Angels believe he can. They like Rasmus because he can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen and because he has an attack mentality that helps him as a reliever. He has a good chance of cracking the Opening Day roster as a long reliever if he stays healthy and right.
And if he doesn't, well …
"It's never going to make or break me," Rasmus said. "I feel that whatever happens, even if baseball wasn't in my future, I'd be OK. I'll live. I'd go home and enjoy time with my family. While I'm here, I'm going to make the most of it and give it all I've got, and let the chips fall where they may."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast.