The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Ernesto Frieri, the primary replacement for the sidelined Ryan Madson (elbow), worked around a one-out walk to wrap things up yesterday on the back of a groundout and two strikeouts. Per MLB.com Gameday, he threw only one breaking pitch in 18 tosses - they called it a slider, but it's reported in other outlets as a cutter. He's leaned on his four-seamer for most of his career but has been working on diversifying.
If Frieri expands on the dynamite performance he showed most of last year and becomes a more complete pitcher, Madson may need more than the typical ease-in process to regain the closer role.
Erik Bedard's save in the Houston Astros' Sunday win came after 3 1/3 innings of solid relief; he was available because he wasn't scheduled to start until this coming weekend.
You may write this off as a one-time deal, and that's logical. But make a tiny Post-it about what GM Jeff Luhnow is implementing in the minors: All farm squads are using tandem starting pitchers - eight bodies for four rotation slots - to bring them along with care during their development.
This doesn't point to any singular, imminent threat to Jose Veras' opportunities. However, if the boss, who's open to experimenting with his organization, decides this system could at least occasionally help the arms that are developing for the big club that isn't expected to compete, such situations may shut out Veras from time to time. It's a long shot, but not impossible.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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