Bedrosian reaching potential, gaining confidence

Bedrosian reaching potential, gaining confidence

ANAHEIM -- The one thing scouts never doubted about Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian -- who's armed with a mid-90s fastball and a devastating slider -- was his potential.

Now in his third season in the Majors, Bedrosian is starting to put things together. The results are frightening, at least to opposing hitters.

The 24-year-old has posted a 1.03 ERA through his first 39 appearances, quickly becoming the Angels' most effective arm out of the bullpen. Going into Wednesday he hadn't given up a run since May 31, a streak of 20 consecutive outings, which ranks as the seventh-best in club history.

Because of his success, Bedrosian has seen himself surpass a struggling Joe Smith and work his way into the eighth-inning setup role. It worked to perfection in Tuesday's 8-6 win over the Rangers, as Smith, Bedrosian and closer Huston Street worked scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth innings to shut the door. Bedrosian worked well in his inning, giving up a leadoff single to Elvis Andrus before earning back-to-back punchouts on sliders and a flyout.

Bedrosian has cleaned things up in his third season, cutting his 5.6 walks per nine innings as a rookie in half while also seeing his strikeout per nine innings rate increase to 9.8. Bedrosian said he's been more aggressive than ever with his fastball and slider, trying to work both for strikes early in counts to set up hitters. He's also used his slider more than ever, working it up to almost 30 percent this season as opposed to the low-to-mid 20s he used it last season.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia sees a much more confident pitcher than the one who posted ERAs of 6.52 and 5.40 through his first two seasons in the league.

"As [Bedrosian's] evolved as a pitcher, you can definitely sense a lot more confidence," Scioscia said. "That's not unusual for young players. You're up in the big unknown [in the Majors]. How talented you feel you are and how comfortable you are with your ability, the litmus test is going out there and getting it done."

Worth noting

• Designated hitter Albert Pujols was evaluated Wednesday after taking a Tony Barnette fastball to the helmet in Tuesday's 8-6 win over the Rangers. Scisocia said Pujols is fine and was not diagnosed with a concussion. Pujols was in the lineup Wednesday, batting cleanup.

Pujols hit on the helmet

• Left-hander Tyler Skaggs pitched well again Wednesday in what could be his final start with Triple-A Salt Lake before a Major League return. Skaggs threw 5 2/3 shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out 12 on 94 pitches. The left-hander is one of the candidates to take Nick Tropeano's spot the next time through the rotation.

• Angels shortstop Cliff Pennington began a Minor League rehab assignment with Salt Lake on Wednesday. Pennington, who is recovering from his second left hamstring strain this season, is eligible to be activated off the 15-day disabled list on July 31.

• Angels left fielder Craig Gentry is also in Triple-A. Scioscia said Gentry has made progress, but still has a ways to go before he can return to the Majors.

"Craig's got some work ahead of him," Scioscia said. "He missed a lot of time, and he's down there playing now and the initial reports are good but he's got some work in front of him."

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.