Angels News: Jose Soriano Being Stretched Out As Starter
MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Soriano has had a long path within the Los Angeles Angels organization to get where he is today. He was an international signing at 17 years old all the way back in 2016. For a time, he was seen as one of the top starting pitcher prospects in the Angels farm system. But in that time, he’s undergone two Tommy John surgeries and was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft before being returned to Anaheim in 2021.

Between 2020 and when the Angels called him up to the Majors in 2023, he had pitched a total of 40 professional innings. So with all of that in mind, the Angels chose to use the former starter as a reliever last season. He made 38 appearances out of the pen for 42 innings in 2023. He held a 3.64 ERA, 1.333 WHIP and struck out an impressive 12 batters per nine innings.

He was a relatively reliable option in a bullpen that was lacking in options for most of last season. And this year, the Angels and new manager Ron Washington are rewarding him for the work he did in 2023. The plan for Soriano this spring is to be stretched out as a starter, which begin with two innings in Saturday’s Spring Training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to Rhett Bollinger of

Washington said the Angels already know what Soriano can do as a reliever and they think he has the stuff to start, so they’re giving him the chance to try his hand at starting again. He was considered a top starting pitching prospect in the Minors but underwent Tommy John surgery twice and was converted to relief last year.

It wasn’t an impressive two innings for Soriano on Saturday, as he allowed three earned runs on three hits in his spring debut. However, the Angels appear confident that he can be stretched out to a starter level like he once was within the organization.

How he responds to this outing will greatly determine what role he plays on the Angels this season. Perhaps he could be viewed as a long reliever and injury replacement in the starting rotation, or he could be fighting with Chase Silseth for the fifth spot in the rotation. It’s likely the Angels are going to keep the truth under wraps for as long as possible.

Robert Stephenson likely beginning season on injured list for Angels

There is already doubt about Robert Stephenson’s availability to begin the season. The former Tampa Bay Rays reliever is dealing with shoulder soreness and is behind schedule as camp begins. The next question becomes if he’ll be able to return to make the Opening Day roster.

That status is in doubt four weeks ahead of Opening Day, as Stephenson simply doesn’t believe there will be enough time for him to have a proper ramp-up to bullpen availability:

Right-hander Robert Stephenson (shoulder) said he “felt good” after playing catch Wednesday. He said he’s not too concerned about the injury, but still might have to start the season on the injured list simply because he’d run out of time. “At this point, getting in enough games to be ready for opening day will be a little bit of a challenge,” Stephenson said. “I feel comfortable being in games before the end of the spring. It’s just a matter of if the workload is built up enough or not.”

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