Pena hopes to be rotation candidate for 2019
Righty 'had a great run' as Angels starter, Scioscia says
ANAHEIM -- Felix Pena's 2018 campaign is officially in the books.Pena had been lined up to start Sunday's season finale against the A's, but the Angels decided to shut down the 28-year-old right-hander because of workload concerns. Because of the off-day on Thursday, the Angels will be able to bring
ANAHEIM -- Felix Pena's 2018 campaign is officially in the books.
Pena had been lined up to start Sunday's season finale against the A's, but the Angels decided to shut down the 28-year-old right-hander because of workload concerns. Because of the off-day on Thursday, the Angels will be able to bring back Matthew Shoemaker on normal rest to pitch in Pena's place. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs will start on Saturday.
Acquired from the Cubs in exchange for cash considerations last October, Pena was initially viewed as a potential multi-inning reliever before the Angels decided to try him out as a starter following a series of injuries to their rotation. He made his first MLB start on June 19 and gradually settled into his new role, posting a 4.18 ERA over a career-high 92 2/3 innings for the Angels this season.
"There's no doubt he's taken some steps forward," manager Mike Scioscia said Friday. "He's had a lot on his plate, and he's proved that he's moved forward with that. He had a great run for us. He learned a lot. There were some growing pains, but it proved that he's a [starting-rotation] candidate, for sure."
Pena yielded three runs over seven innings against the Rangers in his final start of the season on Monday. Despite not having started regularly since he was in Double-A in 2015, Pena pitched at least six innings in seven of his last eight starts and recorded a 3.49 ERA with 11 walks and 45 strikeouts over that span.
Pena said he hopes that run of success showed that he can be a viable starting rotation option for the Angels moving forward.
"I enjoy it a lot more than being in the bullpen," Pena said in Spanish. "I'm not thinking about returning to the bullpen anymore. Hopefully, that'll be the case. I'm going to keep working hard to always give my best."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.