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Sorting out the rest of the Angels starting rotation

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Matt Andriese was the latest contender to pitch well this spring.

MLB: Spring Training-San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Angels Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

We know one spot so far in the Angels’ rotation, with Andrew Heaney getting the opening day start. He starts Monday as well in Tempe against the Indians. What’s left is figuring out the rest of the starting staff, and on Sunday it was Matt Andriese staking his claim.

Andriese pitched four scoreless innings against the Brewers, allowing only a pair of singles. When things are going right for the right-hander, he keeps his infielders busy, and that was the case Sunday with eight ground ball outs. In three outings this spring Andriese has allowed one run in nine innings, with six strikeouts and a walk.

The 30-year-old Andriese, acquired in January from the Diamondbacks for pitcher Jeremy Beasley, has 49 career starts and is being used as such so far this spring, but has been used almost exclusively in relief the last two seasons. In 2019 with Arizona, Andriese posted a 4.71 ERA in 54 games, all in relief, but also saw his strikeout rate spike to a career-best 25.5% with 79 strikeouts in 70⅔ innings.

It’s safe to assume that fellow offseason acquisitions Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran have rotation spots locked up, but Andriese is one of several vying for a starting gig. Jaime Barria, who followed up a promising rookie campaign in 2018 with a disastrous one last year — his 6.42 ERA ranked 158th among the 164 pitchers with at least 80 innings, and his 6.23 FIP ranked 160th — has been stellar this spring with nine scoreless innings, including four shutout frames last Wednesday against the Mariners.

Jose Suarez has only allowed one run in eight innings in Cactus League play, with nine strikeouts, and Dillon Peters has also been stingy with one run in his 7⅓ innings. But with two weeks to go before camp breaks and the team heads back to Anaheim, manager Joe Maddon isn’t tipping his hand. From Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:

“I’m not gonna tell you everything yet, but there’s things that we’re working on right now that I kind of like,” Maddon said. “Like I have been telling you the whole camp, the pitching is better than you think. We’re exploring different combinations. Mickey and I, and the guys and Billy, have talked about some other permutations and we’re getting closer to be able to reveal the whole thing, but we’re not there.”

Links & notes

Opening day starter Andrew Heaney has “all the confidence in the world,” per Maria Torres of the LA Times.

Will Leitch at MLB.com picked the fastest player on each MLB team. His pick for the fastest Angel was Mike Trout.

The NPB announced the postponement of the start of its season in Japan on Monday morning, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, MLB plans to start its season on time, reports Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich at The Athletic.

In addition, MLB released a statement through the BBWAA regarding media access as coronavirus spreads:

“We are undertaking many precautions currently. For example, we are asking anyone - including media - who has visited a high-risk area, as defined by the CDC, within the last 14 days not to visit our facilities.

“We are also discussing additional measures internally and with other Leagues. At this time, we have not made changes to our media access procedures, and we will advise if we determine to take such steps.”

On Monday before the Angels’ game against the Indians in Tempe, the team is holding a Balding All Angels benefit, with Maddon and some players and coaches getting their head shaved for charity.