Tropeano optioned as Angels trim down roster

Shoemaker likely to open regular season as club's No. 5 starter

Tropeano optioned as Angels trim down roster

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels right-hander Nick Tropeano was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake after Monday's 8-8 tie with the Cubs, a strong indication that Matt Shoemaker will begin the season as the fifth starter.

The Angels have yet to make an official announcement on their rotation.

Tropeano, making his first start in 12 days because of a brief bout with the flu, gave up five runs on six hits in four innings against the Cubs at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The 25-year-old began camp as a longshot for the rotation, but he had a chance of sticking when it became evident that C.J. Wilson and Tyler Skaggs would begin the season on the disabled list.

The Angels won't need a fifth starter until April 11, but Tropeano can't be called up to the Major Leagues until April 13, at the earliest, unless it is to replace a player heading to the DL.

Shoemaker will pitch in a Minor League game on Tuesday and would be lined up to make one more start in a Sunday exhibition game against the Cubs, who then play the Angels in the first two regular-season games. The 29-year-old right-hander could help out of the bullpen during that first week, then start April 11 at Oakland.

Shoemaker has given up seven home runs in 20 innings this spring, but he finished second in American League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2014 and spent most of the '15 season in the Angels' rotation, posting a 4.46 ERA.

The Angels also sent infielder Gregorio Petit and relievers Lucas Luetge, A.J. Achter and Javy Guerra to Minor League camp, trimming their Spring Training roster to 34 players (including Skaggs and Wilson).

Al Alburquerque, Greg Mahle and Cam Bedrosian are left to battle for the final bullpen spot. Rey Navarro, Ji-Man Choi, Jefry Marte, Todd Cunningham and Rafael Ortega are competing for the last bench spot, though there appears to be a strong chance that Choi, a Rule 5 Draft pick, will win the job.

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.