ANAHEIM -- As Rich Thompson settles into his role in the Angels bullpen this season, the righty reliever has found a new sense of purpose.
After throwing a total of 19 2/3 innings all of last season, Thompson had already tossed 19 innings this season entering Monday and had recorded 22 strikeouts, which led American League relievers.
"It is nice to be pitching more often and feeling I belong and having ownership with what I do," Thompson said. "I have just tried to take it one step at a time and pitch my pitch."
Fanning 20 batters in his last 12 1/3 innings pitched, Thompson said his secret has just been getting ahead of hitters.
Before Monday's game against the White Sox, Thompson had given up just four runs on 14 hits, for a 1.89 ERA.
"I have felt the pressure of trying to do too much and really looking over my shoulder in the past, and that is hard to do," Thompson said. "Last year, I realized I have to take ownership and I've tried to do that this year."