TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rich Thompson continues to improve his stock as he competes with four other Angels for two coveted roster spots.
The right-hander pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning in Monday's "B" game against the Rockies, showing the remarkable consistency that has marked his scoreless spring. Thompson has allowed four hits and a walk while striking out six in four Cactus League games, and his "B"-game effort yielded three groundouts against three left-handed hitters.
"He's been in contention," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He keeps moving forward and he's pitching very well. That's a good sign."
After a July 2 callup last season, Thompson went 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 13 relief appearances. He saw time in three previous seasons with the Angels, but 2010 marked a dramatic improvement for the 26-year-old right-hander from Australia.
"We see what he's done," Scioscia said. "We see the progress from two years ago to where he is now. I don't think there's anything quiet about what he's done. He came up last year at the end and really pitched well. He's throwing the ball very well this camp, and he's made some adjustments in his game for sure."
It all should add up to put Thompson in a comfortable place as the camp heads into the home stretch, with a spot looking like it's his to lose if he can continue his strong performance.
"I don't know if you're ever comfortable," Thompson said. "There's guys with good arms that may be younger than I am that could take the position. I feel like if I put myself in the best position to get it, then why not, right?"
Considering he's out of options, the Angels are not likely to want to let him slip away. And though Thompson does feel confident of being able to land a job with another club, he considers himself an Angel.
"Hopefully, I showcased enough last year that people know who I am," Thompson said. "But I want to be here. I don't want to have to go to another club. I've been here 10 years. This is all I've known since I was 17. You don't want to go somewhere else and have to relearn the ropes."