Mixed fortunes on Countrywide tour

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Veteran reliever Junichi Tazawa joins Angels in attempt to revive his career

first_imgHOUSTON — September for the Angels will be filled with young players trying to carve out a spot in the big leagues and at least one veteran trying to reinvent himself.Junichi Tazawa, a 32-year-old right-hander who was once a consistently reliable reliever with the Boston Red Sox, was among the players the Angels added in their first wave of roster additions Saturday.Tazawa struggled the past two seasons with the Miami Marlins, and this year he was released by the Marlins and Detroit Tigers before the Angels signed him to a minor league deal.In his prime with the Red Sox, when he posted a 2.62 ERA over 179 games from 2012-14, Tazawa’s fastball was 94-95 mph. This season with the Marlins, it was 92 mph. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I know Ohtani, but I don’t know if he knows (me),” Tazawa said.Tazawa and Ohtani had never played together or against each other in Japan, because Tazawa skipped professional baseball in Japan to come directly to the United States.ALSOMatt Shoemaker has been penciled in to start Monday, as expected. Shoemaker made just one start, on March 31, before getting hurt and having surgery, which revealed he had a split pronator tendon.The Angels also brought up reliever Miguel Almonte and infielder José Fernandez. Scioscia said Fernandez will mostly start at first base against right-handed pitchers, while Jefry Marte will start against lefties, as the Angels replace Albert Pujols for the final month. Kaleb Cowart, who started at first against a right-hander Thursday, will now revert to being a utility infielder and defensive replacement at third…The Angels are expected to recall more players by Tuesday, after Salt Lake’s season ends Monday.UP NEXTAngels (RHP Shohei Ohtani, 4-1, 3.10) at Astros (RHP Gerrit Cole, 12-5, 2.85), 5 p.m., Sunday, ESPN, KLAA (830 AM).center_img Since the Angels got Tazawa, they have worked on making some changes to his mechanics.“It has been a good improvement,” Tazawa said through his interpreter. “It’s not 100 percent comfortable, but it’s getting better.”Tazawa pitched 6-1/3 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake, allowing 10 hits and five earned runs. He had allowed 20 earned runs in 20 innings in the majors with the Marlins this year.“He’s a veteran pitcher that can make pitches,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He threw the ball well down below. Hopefully he’ll continue to bring it up here, and throw the ball with consistency.”Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Tazawa also gives the Angels a second Japanese player. Tazawa said he was eager to play with Shohei Ohtani.last_img read more