With bullpen taxed, Angels call up Paredes

Struggling at the plate, Cron sent to Triple-A Salt Lake

June 23rd, 2017

BOSTON -- The Angels added a fresh arm to their overworked bullpen on Friday, calling up right-hander from Triple-A Salt Lake prior to their series opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. To clear a roster spot for Paredes, the Halos optioned first baseman C.J. Cron to Salt Lake.

Paredes made his Major League debut in the fourth inning of Friday's 9-4 loss, entering the game in relief of . Paredes came in to face with runners on the corners and one out, and he encountered an early test after Marrero laid down a safety squeeze on the first pitch of his outing. Still, the 22-year-old rookie fielded the ball cleanly and threw to catcher to get the forceout at home. Paredes then induced a groundout to end the inning, leaving one runner stranded.

Paredes worked a scoreless fifth before allowing a two-run homer to that pushed the Red Sox's lead to 7-1 in the sixth. Paredes was ultimately charged with two runs on two hits over 2 2/3 innings.

"I feel really good for him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's not too often you get a safety squeeze your first pitch in the big leagues and you handle it and make a play -- and he did. He was calm out there. He was cool. Just missed with a couple locations and gave up a couple runs in the third inning he was out there. But he was fine."

Paredes' performance spared the rest of the Angels' bullpen from too much heavy lifting on Friday. The relief unit was in need of reinforcement after pitching 11 2/3 innings during the club's three-game series against the Yankees.

"I think that at this point, we definitely need to get another arm up here," Scioscia said before the game. "It serves a purpose. C.J. gets some at-bats again, and we'll see where he is. But right now, we're short in that bullpen."

Paredes opened the season at Double-A Mobile and recorded a 1.42 ERA over 12 2/3 innings before earning a promotion to Triple-A in May. He continued to pitch well after arriving at Salt Lake, logging a 2.13 ERA across 25 1/3 innings with 11 walks and 26 strikeouts. He had not allowed a run in his last 9 1/3 innings.

Scioscia said Paredes, ranked the Angels' No. 15 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, could be used as a multi-inning reliever in the club's eight-man bullpen.

"He's really come on the last couple years of his development," Scioscia said. "I think he had a real good year last year and had a good Spring Training and is throwing the ball very well down there."

This is the second time Cron has been optioned this year. The 27-year-old slugger has struggled so far this season, posting a .212/.266/.297 slash line, and he is hitless in his past 15 plate appearances. This comes after a season when he registered a .792 OPS, more than 200 points above his current mark.

Cron had been splitting time at first base with , but Scioscia said he expects Valbuena to garner the majority of starts there for now.

Worth noting

• The Angels announced that right-hander Doug Fister was claimed on unconditional waivers by the Red Sox. Fister, who opted out of his Minor League contract with the Halos earlier this week, will start for Boston against the Angels on Sunday.

• Scioscia said he was looking forward to seeing the Red Sox officially retire David Ortiz's number on Friday night.

"I'm glad I'm going to see it to make sure he's retired," Scioscia said. "I don't want to see him in the other's batter's box anymore. It's a Hall of Fame career."

is expected to play first base in one of the Angels' two games against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium next week. Pujols has made only four starts at first this season.

• Right-hander resumed throwing on Thursday for the first time since landing on the disabled list with right knee inflammation earlier this week. The Angels are hopeful that Norris will be able to return after the minimum 10 days.

• The Angels signed fourth-round pick John Swanda, a high school right-hander from Iowa, for $625,000, Jim Callis of MLBPipeline.com reported. The recommended bonus slot for the 115th pick was $463,900.