Barria called up to start series finale Sunday

April 21st, 2018

ANAHEIM -- In need of a sixth starter to accommodate 's once-a-week pitching schedule, the Angels will call up pitching prospect to start against the Giants on Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia announced Friday.

Barria, a 21-year-old right-hander, made his MLB debut against the Rangers on April 11, allowing one run over five innings in a winning effort for the Angels. Barria was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake immediately after the game to clear a roster spot for Nick Tropeano, but he continued to pitch well in the Minors, giving up one run over 4 2/3 innings in his most recent outing. That performance helped convince the Angels to give him the nod over , who had been another starting option for Sunday.

"I think Jaime pitched well his last start," Scioscia said. "He's probably throwing the ball most consistently down there of the starters."

Barria is ranked the Angels' No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline. Scioscia said that he was most impressed by the composure that Barria showed during his debut against the Rangers last week.

"There's always going to be some anxiety," Scioscia said. "I don't even know if anxiety is the right word. Pitchers are keyed up for their first start, and sometimes it takes them out of their game. He stayed in his game. He pitched well."

The Angels are currently carrying five starters and eight relievers, so they will be forced to make a tough roster move on Sunday to clear a spot for Barria. The only reliever who can be optioned is , and he has recently emerged as Scioscia's preferred ninth-inning option.

The Angels had been carrying an extra reliever because their rotation has so far struggled to get deep into games on a consistent basis. The Angels' bullpen entered Friday with an American League-high 85 innings this season, only six fewer than the Angels' starting pitchers.

"They're trying to pitch deep into games," Scioscia said. "It's an emphasis. We haven't been able to get that continuity yet. Right now we've had eight guys in our 'pen, which has helped. That won't always be the case. As we talked before, it's just not sustainable. Right now we're averaging four-plus innings a start, so we have to get better, no doubt."

The Ohtani brief

Ohtani threw a light bullpen session on Friday and batted sixth in the Angels' series opener against the Giants. Ohtani, who departed his last outing with a blister on his right hand, will throw a normal bullpen on Sunday, putting him in line to start on Tuesday in Houston, though the Angels have not made an official announcement yet.

"He feels pretty good right now," Scioscia said.

Worth noting

(right forearm strain) said he feels great and is hoping to receive clearance to resume throwing soon.

• Zack Cozart received a day off on Friday, with starting at third base in his place against the Giants.