ANAHEIM — On a cool evening at Angel Stadium on Friday, the Angels brought in some heat.
Right-hander Sam Bachman was added to the active roster from Double-A Rocket City, with the former first-round draft pick’s high-90 mph fastball assigned to the bullpen. Suddenly, a group that lacked high velocity now has multiple flame-throwing options.
Carlos Estevez has established himself as the hard-throwing closer, with Chase Silseth only added to the bullpen recently. Bachman adds yet another hard thrower from the right side.
“He’s been throwing well (and) it’s another big power arm to have down there,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “I wouldn’t even say it’s a bridge (to Estevez). I think we have a lot of guys who can pitch in high leverage. I’m not sure where you’ll see him first but it might be tonight.”
The Angels are likely to provide a soft landing, at least at the outset. Bachman’s 23 minor league appearances with the club all have been as a starter. And while he has pitched in relief on occasion during spring training, a midseason game in a major league ballpark is another story entirely.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people here about the routine and changing it up and I think it will be a smooth process for sure,” Bachman said. “And talking to Chase as well, as he has come into this role, it will help me to follow him around and see what he does. I think it will really help.”
The roster move continues what has been something of a bold youth movement, where young talent has been added in order to win now, not in surrender to the future.
Moves made by General Manager Perry Minasian have included Silseth’s debut last season and the debut of catcher Logan O’Hoppe and shortstop Zach Neto this season. Silseth was the first player promoted to the major leagues from the 2021 draft class and Neto was the first from 2022.
Bachman represents the first top-10 pick from the 2021 draft to make it to the big leagues.
“I just think we’re being aggressive as far as getting our best team, our best product on the field to compete and win,” Nevin said. “We’re setting ourselves up, after 50-some-odd games, (where) everything we want to accomplish this year is right in front of us.”
Nevin firmly believes that Bachman’s 5.81 ERA at Rocket City this season, over six starts and 26-1/3 innings is a direct result of the tackier ball being used in the Double-A Southern League. Bachman has also walked 20 batters.
“The nights he has walked more guys he has mentioned that the ball was tough to get used to,” Nevin said. “Some are stickier than others.”
The Angels are having their pitchers at Rocket City use the slicker major league ball for all activity outside of games, including bullpen sessions and simple games of catch. And while it might not sound like the best idea for establishing consistency in Double-A games, it is being done for reasons just like this, so pitchers don’t lose too much contact with the way things will be at higher levels.
“It’s a game of adjustments, let alone with the baseballs changing all the time,” Bachman said. “You just have to find consistency and work through it, which a lot of the guys are.
“It can be (frustrating). I don’t think it affected me a whole lot. The slider, I felt I could throw in the zone a little more than other pitches but it’s just making the adjustment.”
EASY COME, EASY GO
Right-hander Reyes Moronta, who was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Bachman, did not last long in the organization.
Moronta, 30, was signed to a minor league deal earlier this month and had three outings at Triple-A Salt Lake (four scoreless innings) and then two outings with the Angels (6.75 ERA).
After pitching for three teams in the National League West, Moronta now has a tiny bit of AL West experience. He is 10-11 with a 3.05 ERA in 177 major league appearances over six seasons.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
Third baseman Anthony Rendon took swings Friday, the first time he has swung a bat since going on the injured list on May 15 with a strained groin.
While the Angels still aren’t revealing a targeted return date, his recovery timetable has matched Nevin’s early assessment that Rendon would not be out too much longer than the end of his IL stint.
“I’m anticipating him feeling good and I’m anticipating coming out of (Friday’s workout) fine, as he told me yesterday and today,” Nevin said. “With that being said, I don’t know what the next step is.”
Rendon was batting .301 in 30 games this season but had just one home run with 20 RBIs. His productivity had increased over the last 16 games before his injury with a .368 batting average. His lone home run came a week before going on the IL.
Marlins (RHP Edward Cabrera, 3-4, 5.05 ERA) at Angels (RHP Shohei Ohtani, 5-1, 3.05), Saturday, 7:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM
Angels to promote pitching prospect Sam Bachman
Angels pondering ‘creative’ ways to use rotation around Shohei Ohtani
Zach Neto leads Angels’ offense as they finish sweep of Red Sox
Sizzling Mickey Moniak waits for Angels to give him a chance against lefties
Hoornstra: Can technology make minor league rehabilitation games for hitters obsolete?