OAKLAND -- In 2007, there was damage to his rotator cuff, his shoulder capsule was tightened and doctors may have even shaved off some of his labrum, so Cory Rasmus missed his entire second pro season. To start 2011, he unknowingly chipped the end of his collar bone, near his AC joint, and made seven painful starts before he underwent another surgery. It was then that the Braves decided to move him out of the rotation for good, placing Rasmus in the reliever's role he's now flourishing in with the Angels.
Next year, Rasmus may get another crack at starting.
The 26-year-old right-hander has started each of the last five times Garrett Richards' spot has come up, but he hasn't been stretched out further than 59 pitches because he's worked mostly as a short-inning reliever the last three years. Turning Rasmus back into a starter "is no doubt going to be a conversation over the winter," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on Tuesday.
Scioscia even left open the possibility of Rasmus starting in the American League Division Series, which would basically turn into a bullpen game because he can't really go much longer than four innings at this point.
"We're going to do what we have to do," Scioscia said. "We're going to do what we feel is the best for us to get through a game, an inning, whatever we need to do. That's the only way you can approach the playoffs. If it takes a bullpen game, so be it. We've done remarkably well when those guys have had to do it."
For a team without much pitching depth in the upper levels of its system, and few available funds to acquire it in the offseason, it makes all the sense in the world to give Rasmus a shot at starting next year.
"That's completely on them," Rasmus said. "If they offer that up, I wouldn't be against it. But at the same time, I'm not banking on it."
Rasmus has a solid four-pitch mix, which features a four-seam fastball, changeup, slider and curveball. And his stuff has translated to the Major League level this year, while posting a 2.38 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and a 3.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 53 innings.
"It gives me a little confidence that my stuff plays a little bit," Rasmus said. "I can go out there and trust it and not have to worry about being perfect every pitch. Go out there and throw it in the zone, let them hit it."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.