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Eppler praises Schimpf's offensive approach

Angels acquired infielder from Braves on Saturday; Ramirez ready for home opener; Heaney's sim game goes well
MLB.com @mi_guardado

OAKLAND -- The Angels expanded their infield depth on Saturday night by acquiring Ryan Schimpf from the Braves in exchange for catcher Carlos Perez, who had been designated for assignment last week.

Schimpf, who was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, is expected to primarily play second and third base, though he could also get some looks in the outfield, general manager Billy Eppler said Sunday. Eppler added that the move for Schimpf was not in response to Ian Kinsler's injury, as the Angels had been interested in him even before the Braves acquired him from the Rays last month.

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OAKLAND -- The Angels expanded their infield depth on Saturday night by acquiring Ryan Schimpf from the Braves in exchange for catcher Carlos Perez, who had been designated for assignment last week.

Schimpf, who was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, is expected to primarily play second and third base, though he could also get some looks in the outfield, general manager Billy Eppler said Sunday. Eppler added that the move for Schimpf was not in response to Ian Kinsler's injury, as the Angels had been interested in him even before the Braves acquired him from the Rays last month.

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"He's got everything we look for offensively," Eppler said. "Good plate discipline, understands the strike zone. Puts the ball out of the ballpark, so he does a lot of things that we value offensively."

Schimpf, who turns 30 on April 11, is a left-handed hitter who posted an .809 OPS with 34 homers in 142 games for the Padres from 2016-17.

JC excited to start home opener
JC Ramirez's health was a bit of a question mark at the beginning of Spring Training, as the hard-throwing right-hander was coming off stem-cell therapy to treat a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. But Ramirez passed every test without issue and secured his spot in the Angels' rotation with a solid spring. He will make his season debut on Monday night, when the Angels host the Indians in their homer opener at Angel Stadium.

Video: LAA@LAD: Ramirez K's Taylor to start his outing

"Just happy to be healthy," said Ramirez, who recorded a 4.15 ERA over a career-high 147 1/3 innings after making the transition from relieving to starting in 2017. "That was the main goal, to be healthy, and then happy to consistently show that I can be a starter this year.

"Sometimes they say, 'You got lucky. You went to start, and you got lucky.' Now I have to prove that I can do this for a long time and just happy to stay healthy and do my work. Everything that I did in the offseason showed up in Spring Training, now I'm just going to keep doing it to finish the season healthy."

Heaney update
Andrew Heaney (left elbow inflammation) threw 69 pitches over five simulated innings in an intrasquad game in Arizona on Sunday. He allowed one run on four hits and a walk while striking out four.

"Everything went well," Eppler said. "The integrity of the stuff was intact, so we'll move forward with him."

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

Los Angeles Angels, Ryan Schimpf