ARLINGTON -- Scott Downs felt an instant bond with Nick Maronde, and not just because he's a lefty reliever who's 14 years younger. His parents have lived one neighborhood over from Downs in Kentucky for the last four years, and sometimes Maronde would spend time with the 37-year-old when he'd pop in for a visit in the offseason.
On Monday, Downs was traded to the Braves for Minor League reliever Cory Rasmus -- and it was Maronde who took his place on the 25-man roster.
"He took me under his wing," Maronde said of Downs. "When I got called up last year and this year, he's looked after me. When I was down there [in the Minors], he was texting me. He was a great role model for me and I learned a lot from him."
The Angels, with a bullpen that has accounted for at least three innings in each of the last three games, went to 13 pitchers on Monday. Joining Maronde was 27-year-old right-handed reliever Daniel Stange, who was signed to a Minor League deal on June 21. To make room for Stange on the roster, first baseman/outfielder Brad Hawpe was designated for assignment.
Stange, who uses a mid-90s fastball and slider, went to school at UC Riverside and is in the big leagues for the first time since a four-game stint with the D-backs in 2010. He was released by the Padres on June 16 and had posted a 3.60 ERA in 15 relief appearances for Triple-A Salt Lake.
"It feels great to get back up here," Stange said, "and obviously the goal is to stay here."
Maronde, a surprising force for the Angels' bullpen down the stretch last year, got off to a rough start at Double-A, but he bounced back, giving up only four runs in his last 18 innings to bring his ERA down to 3.91.
"Early on, I think I was trying to be too fine as far as throwing strikes," Maronde said. "I just started attacking hitters. I got back to doing that and hit the ground running from there."
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.Less