The Angels have paused the throwing program for injured right-hander Huston Street, the team announced to reporters on Thursday night (link via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register). Street was on a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake but felt some tightness in his right triceps. He’s been out the entire year thus far due to a strained right lat muscle.
In the absence of Street and fellow righty Cam Bedrosian, the Angels have received some relatively surprising contributions from an unlikely collection of relievers that were acquired at a bargain rate. Veteran Bud Norris has stepped into the closer’s role and pitched quite well (last night’s lackluster outing notwithstanding), while Blake Parker, David Hernandez and Yusmeiro Petit have all made strong contributions out of the bullpen as well.
The 33-year-old Street is currently playing out the second season of a two-year, $18MM contract and is earning $9MM this year (plus a $1MM buyout of a 2018 option). The contract hasn’t worked out the way the Halos had hoped, to say the least. Last season, Street limped to a 6.45 ERA through 30 1/3 innings as he dealt with knee and oblique injuries that likely contributed to a career-worst 88.2 mph average fastball velocity.
It doesn’t seem especially likely that Street will be handed the reins to the ninth inning when (or if) he is ultimately deemed healthy enough to return. Norris has excelled in closer’s role, pitching to a 2.08 ERA with 24 strikeouts against nine walks in 17 1/3 innings since being asked to lock down his first save of the season. And while Norris’ success and affordable salary on a one-year commitment make him an obvious summer trade candidate, the much-younger Bedrosian looked every bit the part of a big league closer last year when logging a 1.12 ERA with 11.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 49.6 percent ground-ball rate in 40 1/3 innings for the Angels.