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More bullpen help could be in offing for Halos

More bullpen help could be in offing for Halos

CHICAGO -- The Angels acquired a badly needed experienced closer and lefty specialist over the past five days, but the closer (Jason Grilli) had a 4.87 ERA in his first 22 games of 2014, while the lefty specialist (Rich Hill) is a journeyman who has spent the entire season in the Minor Leagues.

Are the Halos done addressing the bullpen? Thirty-one days remain until the non-waiver Trade Deadline, so they might not be.

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"Any moves that are made are to strengthen your staff at the present time," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Where it leads to, where you are two weeks or a month from now, you never know. But these moves are made for a reason. It's not a tryout."

Grilli, 37, was acquired in a change-of-scenery trade that sent former closer Ernesto Frieri to the Pirates. Hill was brought in prior to Tuesday's doubleheader, acquired from the Red Sox for cash considerations. Hill was added to the 40-man roster, with right-hander Michael Kohn optioned back to Triple-A to create space in the bullpen.

Whether the 34-year-old fills the Angels' lefty-specialist void remains to be seen.

"When he's rolling, he can get anybody out," said sidearmer Joe Smith, who played with Hill during what ended up being a rough season for the left-hander in Cleveland last year. "He's got nasty stuff. He can throw his fastball anywhere from 90 to 95 [mph], and he has a huge curve."

Hill is in his fifth Major League organization and carries a 4.74 ERA in 465 2/3 innings from 2005-13. Hill's best season came with the Cubs in 2007, when he won 11 games and posted a 3.92 ERA in 32 starts, but he's been inconsistent since and has primarily worked out of the bullpen since '10.

Hill posted a 6.28 ERA in 63 appearances for the Indians last season, posting a WHIP of 1.73 and a walk rate of 6.8 in 38 2/3 innings. He then spent the beginning of the 2014 season with Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 3.23 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 2.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 25 games (39 innings). He held lefties to a .196/.302/.196 triple-slash mark during that time.

Hill, who had a July 1 opt-out from his Minor League contract, can choose to become a free agent if sent back to the Minor Leagues. In his Angels debut, the Boston native entered the ninth inning with a five-run lead in Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader, then loaded the bases with none out and paved the way for Joe Smith to pick up the save with a couple of groundouts.

Prior to that, Scioscia said he hopes the addition of Hill "brings a little more balance to our 'pen, trying to get a lefty down there who can help us and give us a situational look. The guy was available, and hopefully he'll throw the ball the way he can. We'll see how he fits in."

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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