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Middleton, Bridwell relishing big league ride

'We kind of just meshed right when we got here,' Bridwell says
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Parker Bridwell and Keynan Middleton have emerged as young arms with intriguing futures for the Angels. The right-handers have seen their career arcs cross this season, and they welcome each another's presence amid their development.

"We kind of just meshed right when we got here," says Bridwell, who's made the most of his opportunities in Anaheim and posted a 3-1 record and 3.18 ERA in six starts this season.

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ANAHEIM -- Parker Bridwell and Keynan Middleton have emerged as young arms with intriguing futures for the Angels. The right-handers have seen their career arcs cross this season, and they welcome each another's presence amid their development.

"We kind of just meshed right when we got here," says Bridwell, who's made the most of his opportunities in Anaheim and posted a 3-1 record and 3.18 ERA in six starts this season.

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Before games, the two can often be seen in right field shagging during batting practice. The moment often provides them a chance to be transparent with each other, and the conversations can range from potentially being sent down to Triple-A to what pitches to throw when facing Dustin Pedroia.

"It's crazy," says Middleton, who entered Saturday 2-0 with a 29 strikeouts across 30 innings this season. "Everything that he's thinking about, I'm usually thinking about in my head, too. When one of us says it out loud, it's like, 'OK, we're not alone.'"

Video: NYY@LAA: Middleton escapes jam, keeps game tied

Middleton is a 23-year-old reliever who can touch 100 mph with "closer stuff," according to manager Mike Scioscia. Bridwell is a 25-year-old starting pitcher the Angels acquired in April from the Orioles in exchange for cash. Scioscia said the club didn't have any expectations for Bridwell when he arrived, but he has been "throwing the ball terrific."

A year ago, things were very different -- Bridwell was with the Orioles' Double-A Bowie affiliate and Middleton was with the Angels' Class A Advanced Inland Empire club. Both agree that seeing where they've come in such a short span is unbelievable.

"It's unreal," Middleton said. "I would never have dreamed that 10 months later I'd be in the big leagues, pitching in some big spots and stuff like that. I'm just truly blessed and thank God for the opportunity."

Bridwell said his newfound chance in Anaheim has done a lot for his confidence.

"It just made me believe that I can pitch there," Bridwell said, "and that's the first step: just believing in yourself."

Both players attributed their growing comfort to the camaraderie with veteran members of the pitching staff. They have helped make the environment pleasant, though having a teammate at a similar stage in their career has been reassuring.

"We don't like to get too high on being here and stuff like that," Bridwell said, "but we're definitely enjoying it. It's fun to have another young guy here with you."

Kaelen Jonesis a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Angels, Parker Bridwell, Keynan Middleton