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Halos want to fill 'pen with multi-inning relievers

Several pitchers auditioning for spot left by Petit
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Yusmeiro Petit was arguably the Angels' most valuable pitcher last season due to his effectiveness and his ability to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen. Signed to a Minor League deal last spring, Petit recorded a 2.76 ERA over 91 1/3 innings and led the Majors with 33 relief outings of at least 1 1/3 innings in 2017.

Petit is no longer with the team after signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the A's over the offseason, but multi-inning relievers will continue to be a priority for the Angels as they assemble their bullpen for 2018.

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Yusmeiro Petit was arguably the Angels' most valuable pitcher last season due to his effectiveness and his ability to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen. Signed to a Minor League deal last spring, Petit recorded a 2.76 ERA over 91 1/3 innings and led the Majors with 33 relief outings of at least 1 1/3 innings in 2017.

Petit is no longer with the team after signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the A's over the offseason, but multi-inning relievers will continue to be a priority for the Angels as they assemble their bullpen for 2018.

View Full Game Coverage

Richards not concerned about walks

"I think all our guys in the 'pen are obviously going to have to be at the minimum four-out guys, if we can have them," manager Mike Scioscia said. "If you work in the two-inning guys, two-plus inning guys, that'll be important. No doubt, our bullpen, we're trying to create some length in them this week and just see how they respond and how they do."

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Several Angels relievers have already received multi-inning looks this spring, including Jose Alvarez, Keynan Middleton, Noe Ramirez, Luke Bard and Felix Pena, all of whom could help fill the void left by Petit. At the end of last season, general manager Billy Eppler said he'd like the Angels' bullpen to include a minimum of two relievers who are capable of pitching more than one inning.

"I love multi-inning guys," Eppler said. "I believe every bullpen needs at least two guys that can pitch multiple innings. At least two."

The Angels' bullpen emerged as a pleasant surprise in 2017, with the fifth-lowest ERA (3.92) in the American League, but the unit lost three of its best relievers -- Petit, Bud Norris and David Hernandez -- to free agency and will now look to other arms to fill the gaps.

Video: Justice sees four Angels pitchers who could close

Blake Parker, Cam Bedrosian, Jim Johnson and Alvarez are likely the only locks for the bullpen at this point, though Middleton, who impressed last season as a rookie, and Blake Wood, who agreed to a one-year, $1.45 million deal in December to avoid arbitration, also appear well-positioned to earn spots.

Ramirez, Bard, Pena and Ian Krol are all potential candidates for the final relief job, and that competition seems likely to go down to the wire. Krol is in camp as a non-roster invitee, and Pena is the only one among the group with options. Bard, a Rule 5 Draft pick, must be offered back to the Twins if he isn't on the Angels' 25-man roster for the entire 2018 season, so that could also help improve his odds of sticking with the club.

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

Los Angeles Angels