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Scioscia says Angels' closer situation 'fluid'

Parker finished 2017 in 9th-inning role with 8 saves
MLB.com @mi_guardado

OAKLAND -- Mike Scioscia has refrained from anointing an official closer for the Angels so far, but his bullpen management on Thursday offered a potential hint as to who might be his preferred ninth-inning option to start the season.

Scioscia used Cam Bedrosian with a one-run lead in the seventh and Jim Johnson with the game tied in the ninth, indicating that Blake Parker could be called upon to handle most save situations at the outset of the year. Parker, who logged a 2.54 ERA over 67 1/3 innings in a breakout 2017 season, finished last season as the club's unofficial closer, but Scioscia wouldn't commit to keeping him in that role on Friday.

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OAKLAND -- Mike Scioscia has refrained from anointing an official closer for the Angels so far, but his bullpen management on Thursday offered a potential hint as to who might be his preferred ninth-inning option to start the season.

Scioscia used Cam Bedrosian with a one-run lead in the seventh and Jim Johnson with the game tied in the ninth, indicating that Blake Parker could be called upon to handle most save situations at the outset of the year. Parker, who logged a 2.54 ERA over 67 1/3 innings in a breakout 2017 season, finished last season as the club's unofficial closer, but Scioscia wouldn't commit to keeping him in that role on Friday.

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"I think it's going to be fluid," Scioscia said before the Angels' 2-1 win that ended with Parker's first save.

Eight different relievers picked up saves for the Angels in 2017. Bud Norris led the group with 19 saves, but he departed via free agency over the offseason. The Angels will likely follow a similar model in '18, allowing matchups to determine when certain relievers are deployed in game situations rather than locking them into set roles.

"That's what it looks like right now," Bedrosian said Thursday.

Kinsler debuts, Ohtani sits
Ian Kinsler made his season debut Friday after sitting out Thursday's season opener with groin tightness, batting leadoff and starting at second base against the A's. Scioscia said Kinsler would likely not play on Saturday as he eases his way back from injury.

With left-hander Sean Manaea on the mound for Oakland, the Angels decided to start Chris Young at designated hitter over Shohei Ohtani, a lefty bat. Ohtani recorded even splits as a hitter in Japan, but Scioscia said the Angels wanted to get Young in the lineup given his career .827 OPS against left-handed pitching.

Video: Must C Clips: Ohtani tallies first hit on first pitch

Scioscia added that Ohtani would be available to pinch-hit or pinch-run against the A's on Friday night.

Worth noting
• Left-hander Andrew Heaney (elbow inflammation) threw a bullpen session Friday and said he felt good. Heaney, who opened the season on the 10-day disabled list, will require at least one rehab start in a Minor League game before he is ready to join the Angels.

• Scioscia said the new rule limiting mound visits to six per team hasn't been a huge adjustment, as the club rarely eclipsed that mark last season.

"The data that we had was last year we weren't using near six a game anyway, so it doesn't change it that much," Scioscia said. "But you just have to be mindful of it as to when you need it for a strategic visit at the end of the game like yesterday, going out to try to set up a five-man infield. You'd like to keep that availability."

• Major League Baseball informed teams of the official pools for Draft and international spending in 2018 on Wednesday. The Angels' bonus pool for the Draft is valued at $6,984,400. After going 80-82 in 2017, the Angels will pick 17th overall in June, which has an assigned slot of $3,472,900.

The Angels will have $4,983,500 available in international pool money for the upcoming signing period, which begins July 2.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Blake Parker