ANAHEIM -- When Brett Oberholtzer arrived in Cleveland in early August, he had no idea what scenario was in store for him.
The Angels had claimed him off waivers from the Phillies, with spots available in their rotation in the near future. For Oberholtzer, who transitioned into the bullpen after starting 42 games to kick start his career, it was a potential chance to get back into old form.
"I still have hopes of being a starter," said Oberholtzer. "Hopefully it's with the Angels one day, but if not, I'll just take it with a grain of salt and continue to move forward."
The 27-year-old southpaw was looking at a 4.83 ERA with Philadelphia, but a 2.97 ERA over his last 21 games. Signs pointing in the right direction.
"I wasn't expecting to get DFA'd, by any means. I was pitching pretty well. When I found out, I was looking forward to coming to the Angels, and taking hold of the opportunity at hand."
What seemed to be a flawed project for the Phillies became a bold opportunity for the Angels. Instead of looking to free agency to fill holes, the Angels have an arm who can go innings, and comes with a nice price tag for three years of control.
"I think my stuff plays well as a starter rather than a guy coming in for three outs, throwing 96-97."
The 2017 Spring Training will be a telling time for both Oberholtzer and the Angels, to see whether their new swing man can revert back to his success as a starter.
"I don't think it takes a lot for me to get stretched out. As far as my role, my role has been a starter my whole career - it's been embedded in my mind of how to get guys out for over six innings as opposed to one inning or two."
The concerns will come-and-go as Oberholtzer progresses through this season, working his way to the off-season where his job could allow the Angels to spend money on other holes - left field, maybe? Friday night against the Yankees may have been the best sign towards those concerns disappearing.
Trailing by seven, the Angels went to Oberholtzer for length, and protection of their other bullpen arms who have had a heavy work load. Oberholtzer didn't disappoint, going two and two/third innings, scoreless.
"This is the best we've seen him throw the ball since he's been with us," said Angels' manager, Mike Scioscia. "You can see the stuff we had everybody paying attention to a couple years ago."
Though it's well too early to know if Oberholtzer will be one of the options or plans to start 2017, he's impressed his manager thus far.
"Let's get to next week, but anytime a pitcher gets an opportunity and pitches well, sure."