Angels still buzzing over José Soriano’s ‘electric’ relief outing – Orange County Register

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MIAMI — José Soriano is no longer just a guy who showed some promise during spring training.

A day after Soriano routinely hit 100 mph over three dominant innings out of the Angels’ bullpen, the team was still buzzing at the prospect of having that kind of weapon.

“Him in the ’pen is definitely Kryptonite,” catcher Logan O’Hoppe said on Monday. “Everyone in the ’pen brings value, but especially this guy.”

Manager Ron Washington said repeatedly that Soriano was “electric.”

The Angels had seen Soriano before. Last year he had 3.64 ERA in 42 innings of relief.

His four-seam fastball averaged 98.8 mph and his two-seamer was 96.6 mph. On Sunday in Baltimore, he averaged 100.4 and 98.2 with the two fastballs.

Soriano said through an interpreter that the extra velocity was simply the result of his workouts.

“In the offseason I worked hard on my body to get stronger and the little things I need to work on,” Soriano said.

Soriano, 25, is also another season removed from his second Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in 2021. Soriano had his first surgery as a member of the Angels in 2020, and then he was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates took him with the first pick. After he needed another surgery, the Pirates let him go and the Angels got him back.

Now, he looks like he could be a key piece of the Angels’ pitching staff, but managing him could be tricky.

The Angels spent the spring trying to see what he would look like as a starter. They moved him to the bullpen to fill an immediate need on the major league roster, but he clearly still has potential as a starter. The Angels would like to keep him stretched out as much as possible, because inevitably they will need another starter.

However, the game situations might not always present themselves in a way that allows him to get regular, extended use.

Soriano threw 34 pitches on Sunday. He’ll now be off for at least two days.

“We’ve got to make certain we take care of him after he does that,” Washington said. “He’s a weapon, and I think he showed that yesterday. The game will dictate how that happens. I can’t predict that.”

EVERDAY O’HOPPE

O’Hoppe was not in the lineup on Monday, allowing the Angels to get a start for backup catcher Matt Thaiss. With lefties starting on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then an off day on Thursday, O’Hoppe is likely to catch at least the next three games in a row.

O’Hoppe said his goal is to be one of the old school everyday catchers who is in the lineup more often than most catchers. Last season there was only one catcher who started more than 120 games: the Philadelphia Phillies’ JT Realmuto.

“I want to play every day,” O’Hoppe said. “I’ll be smart about my rest. I feel like you have to do everything right behind the scenes. It’s what you do when no one’s watching that can help you catch every day. That’s the approach I’ve been taking. It’s sounds cliche, but sleep, eat right, hydrate.”

Washington said his plan is for O’Hoppe to catch “the bulk” of the games, but it’s too early in O’Hoppe’s career to know if he will be durable enough to be exceptional.

“It may come out to be 135 or 140 games, but we’re a team and we have to give some of these guys opportunity, and we usually try to do that early in the season,” Washington said. “Let him play and he will determine if he’s durable enough to do that. I like his attitude. I have the same attitude as he has.”

NOTES

Mike Trout is expected to get his first start of the year at DH on Wednesday, allowing him to get off his feet after playing center field on the artificial turf in the first two games of the series. …

Right-hander Kelvin Caceres will have season-ending surgery to address his lat injury. The next time the Angels need to create a spot on the 40-man roster, they will be able to move Caceres to the 60-day injured list.

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP Tyler Anderson, 6-6, 5.43 ERA in 2023) at Marlins (LHP Jesus Luzardo, 0-0, 3.60), Tuesday, 3:40 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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