25 Apr 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
[cq comment=”NOTE: there is another WordPress file about Ohtani taking live BP that gets combined w this for print notes”]ANAHEIM — Cody Allen has been a big league reliever long enough to know how the job works.
If you don’t get it done, someone else will.
Speaking just after Angels manager Brad Ausmus had revealed that Allen has been removed from the closer role, the veteran right-hander said he understood the move.
“Brad’s job is to put guys in position to help the team win,” Allen said Wednesday. “I had a rough series against Seattle. I’m working through some things right now to get back to being the guy I was before that series. I was throwing the ball pretty well. And there are some guys down there who are throwing the ball very well, Ty Buttrey and Hansel Robles. They give us a better shot to win games, or close games out.”
Ausmus said the Angels will use a mix of pitchers to close games, and he mentioned Buttrey, Robles, Luís García and Allen. However, Ausmus also said that “right now we’re going to try to put (Allen) in some lower-leverage situations to try to get back to where he needs to be and get command of his pitches.”
Ausmus had been using Buttrey as a high-leverage reliever, often bringing him in for the fifth or sixth inning if the game was on the line. Ausmus said he won’t be able to do that for now, because he’ll need to hold Buttrey back for the late innings.
Allen, 30, signed an $8.5 million deal in January to be the Angels’ closer. Allen had been one of baseball’s most consistent closers from 2014-17 with the Cleveland Indians, but he lost his job during a rough 2018.
And 2019 has started poorly also.
After not allowing a run in his first five games, Allen allowed five runs on three homers in 2-1/3 innings in his next four outings, after which Ausmus told him about the change in role.
“My stuff wasn’t good against Seattle,” Allen admitted, adding that he’d been working since spring training on many mechanical things and it’s taking some time for it click. “Because I haven’t been doing it super long, it’s not like riding a bike.”
Allen did pitch a scoreless inning on Tuesday night after being removed from the closer role, and he called that a positive step.
[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section”]Allen also referred to the 2015 and 2016 seasons, when he had ERAs of 11.57 and 6.97 at the end of April. He finished those seasons at 2.99 and 2.51.
“This game is humbling,” he said. “It’s either hard or really hard. Sometimes you need some things to go your way to get moving in the right direction. We’re going to continue to put in the work, regardless of what inning I’m pitching. We’re going to continue to put in the work and bring my best baseball to the park every single day.”
Tyler Skaggs will return to the Angels’ rotation on Friday, which will be two weeks after he sprained his ankle. Skaggs tested his ankle during two bullpen sessions. … Left-hander Sam Freeman was designated for assignment after pitching just one game for the Angels. Instead they recalled right-hander Matt Ramsey, who has never before pitched in the majors. The Angels have been forced to shuffle their bullpen almost daily in order to keep fresh arms. … Zack Cozart was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday because he’s still having trouble with a stiff neck resulting from his hard slide into second base on Monday night. “It’s gotten a little better, but not quite where I need it to be,” Cozart said. … Andrew Heaney threw his first bullpen session since having a cortisone injection for his sore left elbow during the first week of the season… JC Ramirez, who is in Arizona rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, said he is scheduled to face hitters for the first time on May 2.