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Angels finalize Opening Day roster

Versatility helps Rule 5 pick Choi make team
April 2, 2016

ANAHEIM -- Cam Bedrosian has nailed down the last bullpen spot and Ji-Man Choi got the last bench spot, Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced after Saturday's 8-1 win over the Dodgers, thus setting his Opening Day roster in advance of Monday's first game.The decisions, Scioscia said, proved agonizing."We had probably

ANAHEIM -- Cam Bedrosian has nailed down the last bullpen spot and Ji-Man Choi got the last bench spot, Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced after Saturday's 8-1 win over the Dodgers, thus setting his Opening Day roster in advance of Monday's first game.
The decisions, Scioscia said, proved agonizing.
"We had probably six razor-thin decisions," Scioscia said. "These are the hardest decisions in a long time, which I think speaks well to our depth. Every one of these decisions was tough. It makes us a stronger team, a stronger organization. But it's tough on some of those kids who right now are not breaking with us."
That included Greg Mahle, a lefty-relief prospect who was optioned to Triple-A. Mahle was battling with Bedrosian for that final bullpen spot and was edged out because, as Scioscia said, "Cam right now is throwing the ball the best we've seen him."
Bedrosian, 24, has posted a 5.81 ERA in 51 Major League appearances over the last couple of years, but struck out 17 batters in 11 innings this spring and showed better command of a breaking ball. Mahle, 22, has only spent a half-season pitching in Double-A, but he finished his spring with a 1.46 ERA in 12 appearances.
He'll probably be up as a lefty specialist at some point this season.
"I just wanted to come in and throw strikes, just kind of mature as a pitcher, and whatever happened after that, I just wanted to be able to tell myself that I did everything I could and I challenged the best hitters in the game," said Mahle, who ranks 12th in the Angels' system according to "I did everything I could."
The Angels are going with a seven-man bullpen, which means pitcher Jered Weaver will not open the season on the 15-day disabled list. Weaver will have one more workout, likely facing hitters in a controlled environment at Angel Stadium, but Scioscia has yet to determine when he will make his first start.
Weaver could start at any point in the Rangers series, which begins on April 7 and runs to April 10, or April 11, which marks the first time the Angels will require a fifth starter.
Prior to the game, the Angels optioned corner infielder Jefry Marte, middle infielder Rey Navarro and outfielder Rafael Ortega to Triple-A Salt Lake, while also outrighting outfielder Todd Cunningham to Triple-A. Cunningham, out of options, cleared waivers, allowing the Angels to keep him in the organization.
Said Scioscia: "Everybody that we talked to today was considered on rosters to make our team."
Choi, a Rule 5 Draft pick, was considered a heavy favorite to lock down the final bench spot throughout camp. The 24-year-old fills the Angels' need for a left-handed hitter off the bench and a potential late-game defensive replacement at first base. He also got some time in left field this spring.
Choi hit a home run against the Dodgers on Saturday.
"Choi has shown a little bit of versatility," Scioscia said. "He's definitely shown that he can handle first base. I think with our first-base depth chart, there's no doubt there's a need there."
Below is a look at the Angels' Opening Day roster, with Tyler Skaggs (in the late stages of his recovery from Tommy John surgery) getting optioned to Triple-A and C.J. Wilson (shut down with lingering tendinitis in his left shoulder) beginning the season on the DL.
Catchers:Carlos Perez, Geovany Soto
Infielders: Ji-Man Choi, C.J. Cron, Yunel Escobar, Johnny Giavotella, Cliff Pennington, Albert Pujols, Andrelton Simmons
Outfielders:Kole Calhoun, Craig Gentry, Daniel Nava, Mike Trout
Starters:Andrew Heaney, Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker, Jered Weaver
Relievers:Jose Alvarez, Bedrosian, Mike Morin, Cory Rasmus, Fernando Salas, Joe Smith, Huston Street.
Worth noting
• Wilson recently had the strength in his left shoulder evaluated and Scioscia said "everything is moving in the right direction," but there's still no determination for when Wilson can resume playing catch. The Angels were previously hopeful he could do that by Opening Day. Scioscia said Wilson is "closer" to playing catch, "but not quite there."
• Outfielder Mike Trout returned to the Angels' lineup after missing the previous two games with a stomach virus and had a three-run double. Facing a left-hander, Alex Wood, the Angels had Craig Gentry batting second and moved Kole Calhoun down to the No. 6 spot in the lineup. That could be how Scioscia lines it up against lefties this season. Daniel Nava starts and bats second vs. righties.
• Starting-pitching prospect Hunter Green, the first player the Angels selected in the 2013 Draft, has decided to retire. Green, a 20-year-old left-hander, has dealt with an assortment of injuries the last two years that have kept him from appearing in any games. Green was a second-round Draft pick out of Warren East High School in Bowling Green, Ky.
• Former Angels outfielder Garret Anderson will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Monday, with his son, Trey, catching it. Andrelton Simmons (Wilson Defensive Player of the Year), Mike Trout (Silver Slugger) and Calhoun (Gold Glove) will be presented with their 2015 awards on the field from Thursday to Saturday, respectively.
• The Angels announced their new concession stands at their ballpark this year, including Muscle Maker Grill and Fresca's Mexican Grill, which will offer healthy-eating options at several locations throughout the ballpark. For the other extreme, there's Crafty Dawgs, located at Field Level, Section 127, which allows fans to craft their own hot dogs.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.