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Like father, like son? Bedrosian aims to close

With Street's Opening Day status in doubt, young Halos righty gets chance
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Last summer, in the penultimate appearance of his breakout season, right-hander Cam Bedrosian earned his first career save, striking out the side to secure the Angels' 5-4 win over the A's at Angel Stadium.

Bedrosian didn't get many other opportunities to close in 2016, as he underwent season-ending surgery in September to remove a blood clot in his right arm. But the 25-year-old relief ace is hoping he'll have more chances to pitch the ninth this season.

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Last summer, in the penultimate appearance of his breakout season, right-hander Cam Bedrosian earned his first career save, striking out the side to secure the Angels' 5-4 win over the A's at Angel Stadium.

Bedrosian didn't get many other opportunities to close in 2016, as he underwent season-ending surgery in September to remove a blood clot in his right arm. But the 25-year-old relief ace is hoping he'll have more chances to pitch the ninth this season.

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The Angels had intended to have Bedrosian compete with veterans Huston Street and Andrew Bailey for the closer job this spring, but Street suffered a right lat strain last week and may not be available for Opening Day, creating a bigger opening for Bedrosian to potentially win the competition. Still, Bedrosian said Street's injury won't affect the way he approaches this spring.

"It [stinks], losing a veteran guy like that," Bedrosian said. "Of course you're trying to fight for a spot, but you never wish anything like that, especially a guy like Huston, who is so central to what we do. It doesn't really change the game plan for me, or I think anyone, really. Just keep doing what you're doing and just trying to work on what we can work on. We've got to pick each other up when something like that happens."

Bedrosian was slowed by an adductor issue early in camp and has yet to make a Cactus League appearance, but he threw live batting practice for the first time Monday and said he thinks he'll pitch in a game by the end of the week. The Angels are hoping Bedrosian will be able to build off 2016, when he logged a 1.12 ERA over 40 1/3 innings with a 1.091 WHIP and an 11.4 K/9 ratio. Only Orioles closer Zach Britton recorded a better ERA (0.54) among Major League relievers than Bedrosian last year.

"I think Cam used his experience up to that last year to learn more about his stuff and the way he can pitch," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was very aggressive with everything, and really up until he had his surgery, was dominant. Hopefully he'll be able to pick up where he left off."

Bedrosian, a first-round pick of the Angels in the 2010 Draft and the son of Steve Bedrosian, a lock-down closer in the 1980s and winner of the 1987 National League Cy Young Award, broke into the Majors in '14, but he struggled in his first two seasons in Anaheim and shuttled between the big leagues and the Minors. Last spring, the Angels encouraged Bedrosian to focus on refining his breaking ball, which Scioscia described as a "power slurve."

Bedrosian worked on throwing it for a strike and locating it well, and by the time the regular season rolled around, he could throw his breaking ball with more consistency than he ever had. Suddenly, Bedrosian had another weapon to complement his mid-90s fastball, giving him the tools he needed to morph into an elite bullpen arm.

"That was big," Bedrosian said.

Bedrosian was slowly thrust into higher-leverage situations for the Halos, eventually establishing himself as the club's primary setup man. Now he has his eyes set on being the closer, just like his dad.

"You through progressions where you move to the back end, and that's kind of the stage I'm going to now," Bedrosian said, "Hopefully I'll be able to do the same thing as him."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Cam Bedrosian