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Latos out to help Angels make postseason

Righty tossed two scoreless innings of relief in Tuesday's win vs. A's

ANAHEIM -- This past weekend, Mat Latos got a late phone call from his agent he wasn't expecting. The Angels wanted to sign him.

"I was sitting around, basically figuring that the season was pretty much over for me," Latos said. "Basically, he gave me a choice: you can tell them yes, you can tell them no. That's up to you. And I didn't see a reason why not."

The right-hander had been released by the Dodgers on Sept. 25, after struggling with Los Angeles. But he had one good start, against the Angels in his debut, and the Angels needed pitching depth with their staff and bullpen shorthanded due to multiple injuries.

Latos signed on Monday, threw a bullpen session so the Angels could see what he had, then got his first action for the Angels on Tuesday. He pitched the last two scoreless innings of the Angels' 8-1 win on Tuesday over Oakland to help save a bullpen without closer Huston Street and setup man Joe Smith.

"Hopefully it's not the last time that I get to pitch this year, but it was definitely a huge positive to get out there and throw," Latos said Wednesday. "I hadn't thrown in a while, and then to throw pretty good and put up a couple of zeros, even if we had a big lead, was exactly what I needed."

Between being released by the Dodgers and signing with the Angels, the only throwing Latos had done was with a friend in San Diego, where he pitched the first three seasons of his career with the Padres.

"I went to see a buddy of mine who lives in San Diego. He plays in a Sunday league," Latos said. "I hung out with him, threw a couple of times here and there, but nothing like game speed, like it is here."

Latos is also a backup plan to start for the Angels on Friday, as Jered Weaver has been dealing with right shoulder stiffness, although manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday that the Angels are "confident" Weaver will be able to pitch.

Either way, Latos said he just wants to help the Angels reach the postseason any way he can, even though he would be ineligible for the postseason roster since he wasn't in the organization by Aug. 31. The Angels are a half-game back of the Astros for the second American League Wild Card slot. They're also three games behind the Rangers in the AL West and will play their final four games of the regular season in Texas.

"This is a team that's taken a chance and a team that wanted me to come aboard to give the bullpen some help or the starters some help," Latos said. "Can't say no to that."

David Adler is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @_dadler.
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