The Angels announced they’ve designated reliever Jake Petricka for assignment. The move creates active roster space for Alex Cobb, who has been reinstated from the 10-day injured list to start this afternoon’s game against the White Sox. As Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register notes, the move opens a spot on the 40-man roster for reliever José Marte, who is expected to be activated from the COVID-19 injured list tomorrow.
Los Angeles selected Petricka in late August, setting the right-hander up for his first MLB action in two years. Petricka earned that promotion by tossing 31 2/3 frames of 3.69 ERA ball with quality peripherals in Triple-A. He’s been bombed in his seven big league appearances, though, allowing ten runs on six hits and seven walks in six innings. The Angels will place Petricka on waivers in the coming days, and the veteran would have the right to elect free agency if he passes through unclaimed.
Cobb has missed nearly six weeks with wrist inflammation. That was his second IL stint of the year, as the 33-year-old also missed a little more than the minimum ten days in May because of a blister. Acquired from the Orioles over the winter, Cobb has been limited to fifteen starts and 77 2/3 innings.
To his credit, Cobb has been effective when healthy enough to take the ball. After struggling through a few below-average seasons in Baltimore, he’s turned things around to post a 3.82 ERA with Los Angeles. Cobb has significantly improved his strikeout and swinging strike rates in the process, vaulting from one of the league’s lowest whiff rates to above-average marks.
Cobb hasn’t seen a huge change in his raw stuff, with his pitch velocities and movements right in line with prior seasons. Instead, he’s been more adept this season at locating pitches just off the edges and avoiding the heart of the strike zone. He’s also been more willing than he was last year to lean on his splitter after falling behind batters, preventing opponents from zeroing in and teeing off on his sinker in hitters’ counts.
The Angels have long since fallen out of contention, but the next few starts will be meaningful for Cobb personally. He’s in the final season of the four-year deal he signed with the O’s over the 2017-18 offseason and will hit free agency this winter. Coming off a six-week absence due to an arm injury, demonstrating that he’s back at his early-season form could be crucial in setting his market value for potential suitors.