ANAHEIM -- The Angels claimed lefty reliever Christian Friedrich from the Rockies on Friday and designated infielder Taylor Featherston for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster. Friedrich, who is out of options, will compete for a bullpen role in Spring Training. Featherston could be lost to another club, 14 months after getting selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
The 28-year-old Friedrich has posted a 5.81 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and 2.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 167 1/3 innings in the Majors from 2012-15, but those numbers are likely inflated by the hitter-friendly conditions of Coors Field. Left-handed hitters have posted only a .678 OPS against him, compared to .908 for righties.
Featherston spent all of last season in the Majors partly so the Angels could keep him in the organization long term, though that was under a front office led by former general manager Jerry Dipoto. The 26-year-old Featherston enters the 2016 season with three options remaining, so the Angels will hope another team doesn't claim him off waivers.
Featherston entered the 2015 season without having played above Double-A and struggled to hit Major League pitching in a utility-infield role, batting just .162/.212/.247 in 169 plate appearances. He has the makings of a plus defender and boasts above-average speed, but needs more at-bats before developing into a quality backup.
The Angels no longer needed to rely on Featherston once they signed veteran Cliff Pennington to a two-year, $3.75 million contract in November. If Featherston gets claimed, the next backup infielders on the organizational depth chart are Rey Navarro (claimed off waivers from Orioles in December) and Gregorio Petit (signed to a Minor League contract).
Friedrich will compete with the likes of Mike Morin, Jose Alvarez, Al Alburquerque, Cory Rasmus, Deolis Guerra, Rob Rasmussen, Cam Bedrosian, Lucas Luetge and A.J. Achter for what seems like four open bullpen spots, with Huston Street, Joe Smith and Fernando Salas locked in. Alvarez, Rasmussen and Luetge are also lefties. Guerra and Rasmus are also out of options.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.