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Morin regaining confidence with Angels

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ask reliever Mike Morin about his season and he'll say it hasn't really gone as planned. As a rookie last year, Morin went 4-4 with a 2.90 ERA in 60 games. After a good Spring Training, Morin looked like he could be a late-inning option for manager Mike Scioscia.

And then things spiraled. Or, as Morin put it, "a lot of bad outings in between the good ones."

That was followed by an oblique injury he suffered on May 23, a trip to the disabled list and a tough month of July in which he saw his ERA balloon up to 7.43. After giving up four runs in an inning-plus against the Astros in late July, he found himself optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake.

There, Morin worked on his timing, and since returning as a September callup, the reliever hasn't given up a run in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Morin said he noticed from watching video when he was injured that the tapping method he uses gets too brief. It was quick and everything was rushing toward the plate.

"I think I was pressing a little, bit just trying to make everything turn out the way I wanted to, and I was just fighting myself," Morin said.

So, he set out to fix his issues.

"It's so minute -- that timing," Morin said. "Pitching is such an art in that aspect. Then just trying to then transfer it back, I got [into] some bad habits.

"You can't just switch like that," Morin added with a snap. "It took a little while, but I feel good now and we're playing well."

Morin worked with both Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher and Triple-A Salt Lake pitching coach Erik Bennett to regain his timing. Now that he's back, Morin is not just pitching well, he's also striking out batters. Morin has 11 strikeouts and just one walk since rejoining the club.

"I think right now, even though it took him awhile to get going, sometimes the second year for a player is more difficult than the first year, and he's made some adjustments," Scioscia said. "There's no doubt that he's controlling counts much better than he did … when he was with us earlier."

Morin picked up the win Thursday against the Twins after striking out three batters in 1 1/3 innings, and he has had enough solid September performances to help build up more confidence.

"You only have one outing at a time, so thankfully I can compile some good outings in a row," Morin said. "No one's perfect. So there, unfortunately, will probably be an outing that I'm not going to like between here and the end of the season.

"You just try to move past that and get ready, so hopefully I can continue to keep going and help this team win."

Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for
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