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Gutierrez ready to play role in Angels bullpen

Gutierrez ready to play role in Angels bullpen

Gutierrez ready to play role in Angels bullpen

OAKLAND -- It had been a long 10 days for reliever J.C. Gutierrez, from the time the Royals cut him on July 14 until the Angels finally claimed him off waivers on Wednesday.

"It was a lot of time gone after I got designated for assignment," Gutierrez said. "I was thinking a lot and talking to my agent. He said, 'Be good, keep working hard and someone will claim you.'"

Familiarity eventually worked in Gutierrez's benefit. From 2009-11, he appeared in 143 games for the D-backs -- finishing 59 of them while posting a 4.62 ERA -- and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto worked in that front office.

Dipoto likes Gutierrez's stuff -- a fastball that consistently sits in the mid-90s with a curveball and slider he considers above-average -- and was intrigued by his bounce-back 2013 season for a crowded Royals bullpen, where Gutierrez posted a 3.38 ERA in 29 1/3 innings.

On Thursday, the Angels guaranteed him a spot in their upstart bullpen, designating right-hander Billy Buckner for assignment in order to create room on the active roster. Gutierrez doesn't have a concrete role yet, but he's capable of pitching two innings at a time.

"I'm really happy to be here," said Gutierrez, who had Tommy John surgery late in 2011 and struggled mightily in the Minors in '12. "Jerry knows me from the Diamondbacks, and he told me he's happy to have me on this team."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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