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Angels encouraged by Jose Soriano’s development as a starter

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — José Soriano took another step along what the Angels hope is the path to being a frontline major league starter.

Long before the Angels’ gut-wrenching, 13-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays ended on Tuesday night, it was set up to be Soriano’s first victory as a big league starter.

Soriano gave up one run and one hit in five innings, striking out six and walking five. He threw 90 pitches.

“I think he’s coming along,” Manager Ron Washington said on Wednesday. “I do understand he’s recognizing now that to be a starting pitcher, it takes work. So that means not only work on the mound, but preparing to get on that mound.

“As a reliever, go out there and run five sprints and you’re good to go. As a starter, you have to have everything in better shape to be able to throw 100 or 120 pitches. He’s recognizing that. I think the next time he won’t be as gassed.”

Washington paid a visit to Soriano with two outs in the fifth, after he issued a walk to the No. 9 hitter on his 79th pitch. Soriano then walked leadoff man Yandy Diaz before coming back to strike out Randy Arozarena to end his night.

Soriano has made two major league starts, both against the Rays. He gave up four runs in four innings the first time, and improved a week later.

“Facing a team the second time is tough,” General Manager Perry Minasian said. “To do what he did, only give up one hit after seeing these guys five days ago, that’s pretty impressive. It tells you what kind of arm and arsenal he has.”

Soriano regularly hit 100 mph with his fastball. Combined with his slider and knuckle curve, Soriano has a repertoire the Angels wanted to see as a starter. One of the reasons they had him begin the year as a major league reliever, was to mange his innings. Now that Chase Silseth’s injury forced Soriano into the rotation in April, the Angels might face a decision at some point on whether to slow down Soriano.

“We’re going to deal with that when we get there,” Minasian said.


The Angels still have not announced what they learned from the examinations, by multiple doctors, of right-handed reliever Robert Stephenson’s elbow.

“Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have something,” Minasian said on Wednesday.

Stephenson missed most of spring training with a sore shoulder, but he felt an elbow issue four pitches into his first rehab outing at Triple-A on Saturday.

If there turns out to be a serious problem with his elbow, it would be a difficult blow for this year’s bullpen, but with a potential silver lining in the long term. The Angels put a clause in Stephenson’s three-year, $33 million deal that gives them an option for a fourth year at just $2.5 million, if Stephenson misses 130 consecutive days on the injured list with an elbow injury. It is essentially insurance against Tommy John surgery.

The Angels would not have to decide whether they’re picking up that option until after the 2026 season.


Right-hander Andrew Wantz came out of his start on Tuesday at Triple-A because of “forearm soreness,” Minasian said. Although Minasian said “I think it’s going to be fine,” they are nonetheless having Wantz examined. …

Infielder Brandon Drury, who has been slowed with hamstring tightness, was out of the lineup for a second straight day. Washington said Drury would not start at Tropicana Field because of the turf, returning to the lineup on Friday in Cincinnati. Washington said Drury was available to hit, and he would be removed for a pinch-runner if he reached base. …

The Angels signed right-hander Bryan Shaw to a minor league deal. Shaw, who started the season with the Chicago White Sox, would make a pro-rated portion of $1.1 million if he reaches the majors. Shaw, 36, has pitched parts of 14 seasons in the majors, with a 4.14 ERA in 38 games last season with the White Sox.


Angels (RHP Griffin Canning, 0-2, 9.88 ERA) at Rays (RHP Ryan Pepiot, 1-2, 5.40), Thursday, 10:10 a.m. PT, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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