Reliever Morin to optioned Triple-A

Corresponding move will be announced Thursday

Reliever Morin to optioned Triple-A

HOUSTON -- Mike Morin broke out as a rookie last year and entered the 2015 season with hopes of solidifying himself as the Angels' seventh-inning reliever. But he struggled early on, landed on the disabled list with a strain in his left oblique and gave up four runs in his second inning Tuesday night.

When they sent him down to Triple-A late Wednesday night, he wasn't surprised.

"It's almost August," Morin said after the Angels' 6-3 loss to the Astros at Minute Maid Park. "Seven-and-a-half ERA, dude."

Morin's ERA is 7.43, to be exact, one year after he posted a 2.90 ERA in 60 appearances. Things like that happen frequently with relievers, who pitch in short spurts and can see their ERA balloon with one bad appearance.

Morin's strikeout rate (8.2 last year, 9.0 this year) and walk rate (2.9 last year, 2.7 this year) have actually improved. But the 24-year-old right-hander has given up 10.2 hits per nine innings in his 29 appearances, nearly three more than he did in 2014.

"I think a lot of it has to do with my fastball command," Morin said. "When I'm good, I'm down. I'm able to throw my changeup and my slider in the zone for strikes. But it all starts with fastball command, getting ahead. I don't care how good a pitcher you are; it's tough to pitch from behind."

The Angels will announce a corresponding move for Morin on Thursday. They're in search of another reliever before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline -- ideally somebody who can pitch the seventh inning -- but are expected to call somebody up from Triple-A in this particular instance. Cory Rasmus and Cam Bedrosian seem like logical options.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Morin needs to "get a little more length" and admits that he "hasn't been quite as crisp" since coming off the DL on July 1. Prior to Tuesday's nightmarish bottom of the sixth, though, Morin had 5 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, giving up just three hits, issuing no walks and striking out eight.

"It's comforting that I'm still capable of having success -- frequent success," Morin said. "These past 10 days, minus yesterday's second inning, has been pretty good. I know what I need to work on. It's definitely not ideal [to get sent down], but it wasn't the most shocking thing of all time. It still hurts nonetheless, no doubt."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.