Friedrich returned to Rockies after medical issue uncovered

Left-hander was claimed off waivers by Angels this offseason

Friedrich returned to Rockies after medical issue uncovered

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels returned left-handed reliever Christian Friedrich to the Rockies on Friday, citing issues with his physical exam. The Rockies promptly released him. Angels general manager Billy Eppler didn't feel comfortable disclosing Friedrich's health issue because he is no longer property of his team. Friedrich himself declined comment.

The Angels raised a concern with Friedrich's initial medical evaluation, which took place Thursday, to the Commissioner's Office. The Commissioner's Office then determined Friedrich would be returned to the Rockies, putting the Angels' 40-man roster at 39 players.

Claiming Friedrich initially prompted the Angels to designate infielder Taylor Featherston for assignment. Featherston, the former Rule 5 Draft pick who spent all of last season on the active roster partly so the Angels could stash him in their farm system thereafter, was then claimed off waivers by the Phillies.

"It's obviously disappointing," Eppler said. "When you claim a player off waivers, there's a reason you do that, because you like him and have interest in the player. But it's part of the gig. That's all I can really say."

Friedrich, 28, posted a 5.81 ERA in 100 appearances for the Rockies from 2012-15. He is out of options and entered camp in competition for one of up to four open bullpen spots on the Angels' Opening Day roster.

Friedrich dressed for the Angels' first workout on Friday, but he didn't practice with the team.

"The process of claiming players off waivers, or designating players, absent of the trade waivers, they're irrevocable," Eppler said. "This is just part of the cost of doing business. There was nothing in Christian's medicals last year that would alert us. But when we actually put our hands on the player and he showed up, that initial medical evaluation when he walked through our doors raised some concern."

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.