ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Matt Andriese is slated to be the Angels’ fifth starter and has worked to add a cutter and a two-seam fastball to his pitch mix after mostly serving as a reliever over the last two seasons.
Andriese, acquired in an offseason trade with the D-backs for prospect Jeremy Beasley, spent his time during the quarantine working on those two pitches. His spot in the rotation is now solidified with Julio Teheran’s late arrival to camp. Andriese made five starts in 2018, and though he made none last season, he does have 49 starts to his name over a five-year career, so it’s a return to a familiar role for him.
“I was just fooling around with a bunch of stuff myself,” Andriese said via Zoom on Saturday. “We had so much time to ourselves that even just working out, I’d be at home flipping the ball around, feeling different grips. Throwing bullpens twice a week here at the stadium kind of allowed me to have that extra time to work on some stuff. And then in [Summer Camp] starts, I’ve been able to actually face hitters and get some good feedback.”
Andriese believes adding to his pitch mix will help him as a starter because now he’ll be facing batters more than one time and will be counted on to go deeper into games. He was primarily a traditional four-seam fastball, changeup and curveball pitcher as a reliever, but now he believes he’ll be able to keep hitters guessing with those two new pitches. He has been working on his command of them for months and has been encouraged in intrasquad games.
“I think these two new pitches give the [hitter] a different look,” Andriese said. “If I'm showing them something that's to a righty a pitch that's running in on their hands, now they have to respect that inside pitch. Now it makes my four-seam away, or a changeup away to a righty, that much better. It's given the hitter more to worry about. And I feel like I have the control to throw those pitches for strikes too, which helps.”
Andriese, who grew up in Redlands, Calif., and attended UC Riverside, spent quarantine in Irvine, Calif., and said he was fortunate to be able to use his brother’s home gym for workouts. Once Angels players were cleared to work out at Angel Stadium, he was able to train with head strength and conditioning coach Lee Fiochi and also build up his stamina with bullpen sessions.
Andriese believes he’s ready to go as a result, and his final tuneup will come on Wednesday in an exhibition game against the Padres. The date of his first regular-season start has yet to be announced, but it lines up as the home opener against the Mariners on July 28.
“I feel great,” Andriese said. “I feel like all my pitches are working.”