Angels facing tough roster decisions

Angels facing tough roster decisions

LOS ANGELES -- The Angels took an 18-10 spring record into their penultimate exhibition on Friday against the Dodgers.

With final roster decisions due Saturday, the team faces some especially tough cuts this year because of the abundance of positive contributors in camp.

"We have a lot of guys having terrific springs," manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday, after the Angels extended their exhibition winning streak to nine with a 7-5 victory over the Dodgers. "There's going to be some disappointment for those not making the club. Everyone's putting their best foot forward.

"It's great for us as a club, but tough on individuals."

The Angels' five starting pitchers are healthy. Relievers Dane De La Rosa and Sean Burnett will open the regular season on the disabled list, but both might be able to join the club in April, Scioscia said, with De La Rosa (forearm) closer than Burnett (elbow).

Even with them out at the start, though, the manager said he is happy with his bullpen depth. New additions Joe Smith and Fernando Salas augment closer Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen, Michael Kohn, Cory Rasmus, all right-handers, and left-hander Nick Maronde (the lone lefty until Burnett is ready).

Veteran right-hander Brandon Lyon, a camp invitee with closing experience, is also in the mix.

But Scioscia said having a lefty in the 'pen is not mandatory, "not if I can have a bullpen of guys who can close out games. ... It doesn't matter if they're all right-handed."

Backup catcher Hank Conger and reserve shortstop John McDonald are the only locks among position players battling for bench roles. The Angels likely will be able to keep only two from a group consisting of infielders Ian Stewart and Grant Green and outfielders J.B. Shuck and Collin Cowgill. The last three finished 2013 with the club, and all are having great springs, as are outfielders Matt Long and Brennan Boesch.

"It's the first time in a while we've really looked at some tough cuts," Scioscia said.

Earl Bloom is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.