Gott solidifying seventh-inning role

Angels rookie has thrown five scoreless innings since debut

Gott solidifying seventh-inning role

ANAHEIM -- The seventh-inning call to the Angels bullpen was for Trevor Gott again Monday night, as it has been four times in the past week. With each appearance, the unimposing-looking right-hander with mid-90s-mph heat seems to be settling more into the bridge-the-gap role between starter and back end of the bullpen.

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Gott's inning in the Angels' 4-3 win over the American West-leading Astros was scoreless, as all five of his big league innings have been since he made his debut June 14.

"I don't really care what role I'm in," Gott said. "I'm comfortable with any situation that I'm put in."

The 22-year-old gives the Angels pitching staff something they don't have a lot of: a flamethrower. Most of the starting rotation, and eighth- and ninth-inning duo Joe Smith and Huston Street, don't throw hard.

Gott does, and not only does he throw hard, his fastball is live. It sits from 95 to 98 mph -- he's added velocity since he was in the Minors, which he said is a product of "growing up and getting stronger and being more repetitive in my delivery" -- and runs sharply left to right.

"It's harder to hit, but you still have to hit your spots and throw strikes and have offspeed pitches," Gott said. "It obviously helps throwing harder. You can get away with the elevated fastball more. That becomes a weapon. I guess that helps, but I'm not really worried about the velocity or anything.

"When I throw it down, my ball has a lot of movement. So I like to keep the ball down -- obviously -- and try to get ground balls early in the count. And if the time comes when I need to elevate, yeah I'll elevate and try to get a swing-and-a-miss."

Everyone knows the success of the Royals' bullpen model -- Kelvin Herrera to Wade Davis to Greg Holland -- and in 2014, the Angels took off once Kevin Jepsen emerged as the reliable seventh-inning guy. Gott, who was essentially a throw-in in the trade that brought Street to Anaheim, could have a chance to make a similar impact.

Worth noting:
• The Angels optioned outfielder Alfredo Marte to Triple-A Salt Lake after Tuesday's 13-3 loss to the Astros. They will call up a pitcher in a corresponding move Wednesday.

Efren Navarro had been leading off against right-handers for the Angels recently, but Johnny Giavotella hit first Tuesday, despite righty Collin McHugh being on the mound. That could have been because Houston has a lot of lefties in its bullpen.

• Angels reliever Mike Morin (strained left oblique) threw a scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out one, in the first game of his rehab assignment Monday. Morin and Cory Rasmus (core injury), who is also throwing in rehab games, could return to the team within the next week.

• Nick Tropeano (shoulder) is expected to return to the Triple-A Salt Lake rotation Friday, but will only throw two innings. Tropeano would need as much as 10 days to get fully stretched out, so he isn't a candidate to temporarily take Jered Weaver's rotation spot. Andrew Heaney seems like a logical candidate, with fellow Triple-A starters Adam Wilk, Drew Rucinski and Alex Sanabia possibly in the mix.

• The Angels agreed to terms with fifth-round pick Jared Foster for $100,000, which was about a third of the slot value for the 165th pick, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis. Foster, an outfielder, was drafted after his senior year at Louisiana State University. The Angels have now signed each of their first 10 picks from the Draft.

David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.