MESA, Ariz. -- The battle for the sixth spot in the Angels' rotation officially kicked off Friday, with Nick Tropeano and Parker Bridwell making their Cactus League debuts in the club's 9-8 loss to the A's at Hohokam Stadium.Tropeano, who returned to the mound for the Angels for the first
MESA, Ariz. -- The battle for the sixth spot in the Angels' rotation officially kicked off Friday, with Nick Tropeano and Parker Bridwell making their Cactus League debuts in the club's 9-8 loss to the A's at Hohokam Stadium.
Tropeano, who returned to the mound for the Angels for the first time since July 18, 2016, started the game and allowed three runs over 1 1/3 innings. But the results were secondary to him, as the 27-year-old right-hander simply appreciated the chance to face Major League hitters again after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
"I knew I was going to have nerves going in," Tropeano said. "Just being out there, I can't be any more happy. Obviously, the results might not be what I want them to be, but 18 months of hard work, dedication and being in the training room -- it's a relief to get out there, even if it's a spring game."
Tropeano's jitters showed at the outset, as he hit Franklin Barreto on his first pitch of the game. Tropeano then gave up an RBI single to Marcus Semien and a two-run homer to Matt Olson, who crushed a misplaced fastball to right field to give the A's a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Tropeano allowed a leadoff double to Renato Nunez in the second, but he capped his outing by striking out Jake Smolinski.
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
"Line score is not going to look good, but for Nick to get out there, especially after hitting the first guy, I'm sure he had a little bit of nerves," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He threw some good breaking balls, [had] good life on his fastball, so it's a good first step for him."
Bridwell took over in the bottom of the third, and true to form, delivered a brisk and effective performance, firing two scoreless innings and throwing 16 of his 19 pitches for strikes. Bridwell, 26, allowed just one hit, a single to Nunez in the fourth.
"Great tempo," Scioscia said. "He picked up where he left off last year. Hitting his spots. He looked sharp."
Friday marked the first of what will likely be several spring faceoffs between Tropeano and Bridwell, who are competing against JC Ramirez for the final spot in the Angels' six-man rotation. Tropeano and Bridwell have options, so they could open the year at Triple-A Salt Lake and factor into the Angels' rotation later in the season if they don't make the club out of Spring Training.
"I don't worry about that at all," Bridwell said. "It's just the nature of the game. You're going to have to compete for a spot, and I love it. But those are my friends, and I'm going to go about my business every day, just like I do every other year. I'll take care of what I can take care of, and all the other stuff will fall into place."
• The Angels announced that Garrett Richards will make his Cactus League debut against the Padres on Sunday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. He'll be followed by Tyler Skaggs, who is scheduled to start against San Diego on Monday in Peoria.
• Outfielder Jabari Blash, who was acquired from the Yankees in exchange for a player to be named later or cash earlier this week, joined the Angels on Friday.
"I was happy," said Blash, who had been designated for assignment by the Yankees. "Just to be wanted, to be on a roster for another team and have the opportunity. That was a good thing."
• The A's and Angels held a moment of silence before their Cactus League opener on Friday to honor the 17 victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. The clubs also wore Stoneman Douglas caps during the game, which will be signed and auctioned to raise money for the victims' families.
• Several Angels alumni will be visiting camp as guest instructors this spring, including Chuck Finley, Bobby Ramos, Jim Abbott, Scot Shields, Clyde Wright, David Eckstein, Adam Kennedy, Bobby Grich and Macier Izturis.
Former Angels pitcher Hisanori Takahashi was also spotted in camp on Friday as a member of the Japanese media.
• Angels Minor League pitcher Andrew Vinson, who is currently on the Class A Burlington roster, received a 50-game suspension without pay on Friday following a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Vinson's suspension will be effective at the start of the 2018 Midwest League season. A 10th-round Draft pick in 2016, Vinson has a career 4.35 ERA in the Minors.
Shohei Ohtani will make his Cactus League debut on the mound against the Brewers on Saturday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Japanese two-way phenom is expected to start for the Angels and throw between 35-40 pitches. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. PT, and the game can be watched live on Fox Sports West and MLB.TV.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.