Lindstrom looking good early in Angels camp

Right-hander aiming to win bullpen job after injury-plagued 2014 season

Lindstrom looking good early in Angels camp

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Every year there's one guy who sticks out amid the monotony; a pitcher who turns heads in the early bullpen sessions because the catcher's mitt just seems to pop a little louder when he's letting them go.

For the Angels so far, that guy is Matt Lindstrom.

The 35-year-old right-hander is on his first Minor League contract, coming off an injury-plagued 2014 season with the White Sox that saw him miss 12 weeks with an ankle injury and finish with a 5.03 ERA in 35 appearances. In seven years prior, though, Lindstrom compiled a 3.56 ERA, a 1.42 WHIP and 45 saves while averaging 62 appearances per season.

Lindstrom thinks he can be that guy again.

"I'm excited to see what I can do out there," Lindstrom said upon reporting to spring camp last week. "I've been working hard, and I'm looking forward to getting a chance to make this team."

Lindstrom was slowed by an oblique strain in Spring Training last year, then he opened the season as the White Sox closer before sustaining a left ankle injury fielding a bunt on May 19, a peroneal tendon sublaxation that required surgery and sidelined him until Aug. 12.

Lindstrom exits game in 9th

Four weeks into his return, Lindstrom started experiencing bone pain that gave him reservations about landing on the mound and contributed to a 7.20 ERA over his last 16 appearances.

"But now it's 100 percent," Lindstrom said of the ankle. "I've done a pretty intensive rehab to get it 100 percent, and it is now. I have no reservations landing on it or making moves or doing agility drills. Good thing it wasn't my arm."

Lindstrom's arm looks just fine. He's transitioned into more of a ground-ball guy over the years -- a reaction to pitching in hitter-friendly environments like Coors Field, Chase Field and U.S. Cellular Field -- but he still has the big fastball that would fit in nicely in an Angels bullpen of relatively slow throwers.

Two spots seem wide open in that 'pen, and Lindstrom can opt out of his Minor League contract if he doesn't crack the Opening Day roster.

If he does, Lindstrom will earn $1 million.

"That's the good thing about this is the competition," Lindstrom said. "I'm looking to go out there and compete."

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.