Mike Mayers made his return to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday after spending over two months with Triple-A Salt Lake. Mayers was designated for assignment back in May, but went unclaimed on waivers, landing him with the Bees.
He spent that time re-working some of his pitches and adding to his repertoire in the hopes that he could re-capture some of the magic from his elite 2020 season. He had a 5.40 ERA in his first 16.2 innings this season, and was on a sharp decline since the pandemic-shortened campaign.
But on Saturday, Mayers looked like his old self, but with a new slate of off-speed pitches. He added a curveball and changeup to his arsenal, and tossed 3.1 shutout innings in which he allowed just one hit and two walks, while striking out four batters.
Following his return to the big leagues, he described the emotions of being designated for assignment, then going unclaimed on waivers, via Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It’s good to be back,” Mayers said. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little difficult mentally. It was definitely humbling to go through that process and not get claimed, especially after the last two years that I had. It was a humbling process. Definitely had to regroup. There’s a lot of people I had in my corner that really helped me get through it and figure it out down there. I’m lucky to have them. This one is pretty sweet after the last two months.”
Heading into the season, Mayers was supposed to be a major part of a completely revamped bullpen. However, with the general volatility of relievers, this did not go according to plan. Mayers played less than two months before his DFA.
But after this strong outing behind Jaime Barria in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mayers stick around for the rest of the season. Mayers spent most of his time in Triple-A as a starter, meaning he can provide significant usage as a long reliever.
With the competitive part of the Angels season already at an end, it’s a perfect opportunity for unexpected players to shine. Without the pressure of winning, Mayers may be able to get back to where he was in 2020 heading into the offseason.
Reid Detmers taking leaps
In the second half of Saturday’s doubleheader, it was Reid Detmers that grabbed headlines. For the second start in a row, Detmers reached seven innings pitched while allowing just one earned run. Interim manager Phil Nevin had plenty to say about the strides Detmers has taken since his short stint in Triple-A.