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Scioscia waiting to name OD starter, closer

March 29, 2017

PHOENIX -- The Angels broke camp Wednesday afternoon and high-tailed it out of town, six weeks after they arrived and just five days until Opening Day.But who will take the ball Monday night in Oakland is unknown. So too is who will close out that game should the Angels have

PHOENIX -- The Angels broke camp Wednesday afternoon and high-tailed it out of town, six weeks after they arrived and just five days until Opening Day.
But who will take the ball Monday night in Oakland is unknown. So too is who will close out that game should the Angels have a late lead. The rest of the starting rotation is equally unclear.
"Not yet," is all manager Mike Scioscia would say Wednesday morning when asked if he had any announcements to make on the pitching front.
Those, he said, will come during the weekend Freeway Series in the next three days. Matthew Shoemaker figures to be the most likely to get the Opening Day nod. He and Ricky Nolasco are the only ones who could do so on proper rest.

Shoemaker closed out his spring by giving up three runs and nine hits in four innings in an 8-6 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday. The results were insignificant. He came out of it healthy, and welcomed working out of the adversity while in the midst of it.
As for when he pitches next, Shoemaker is equally in the dark.
"Still waiting to hear," he said. "You can arguably say we have an idea, but still waiting to hear."
So, what's his idea?
"Five or six days from now," he said.
That would be either Opening Day or the next day if Nolasco starts the first game.
"I'm ready to go. It's exciting. Everybody's ready to go," Shoemaker said. "We have any idea of where we're going to be within a day or two."

And if it is Opening Day, which would be a first for Shoemaker, he admitted that would mean a bit extra.
"Opening Day is definitely an honor," he said. "It's still the same game. It's important, but it's not more important than the next game or the last game of the year. But just the fact of being Opening Day, it's a huge honor."
When pressed, Scioscia likewise wouldn't commit to a closer. With Huston Street set to start the season on the disabled list, Cam Bedrosian appears the most likely to get the save chances, but he won't be "ordained the closer," to use Scioscia's words.

At least not at first. "We have some ideas, but really it's going to be contingent on performance," Scioscia said. "Our bullpen will evolve based on its talent.
"We're looking at a number of things, but save to say there are some arms we're going to want to pitch in the back end of our game. Now, whether it's one guy or more guys, you need that depth."
So closer-by-committee is an option, with Scioscia mentioning Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey and Jose Alvarez as options. Though that's not necessarily the path Scioscia hopes plays out.

"It is infinitely easier if you have guys that create roles, and you have balance down there," he said. "If it ends up being one, it's one guy. If it ends up being more than one guy, then it's more than one guy. But this is a definite: You need depth in the back end of your bullpen.
"You have to see exactly where your talent is. If roles develop, roles develop. The one role that has to develop is a group of guys back there are holding leads. That has to develop. Holding leads in the seventh inning, eighth inning or ninth inning. That has to develop."

Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Angels on Wednesday.