Maronde Acclimates To Starting For Angels

LOS ANGELES—Lefthander Nick Maronde is starting to answer one of the main questions about his future.

"We knew Nick Maronde was a prospect," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "The question was, would Nick Maronde end up in a rotation or a bullpen?

"He's done a terrific job managing innings, being pitch efficient as a starter. It's very encouraging where he is right now in his development."

That development has been hindered somewhat by health issues in Maronde's first full season as a professional. A third-round pick in 2011 out of Florida, where he was primarily a reliever, Maronde has been pegged as a starter by the Angels early in his pro career. He was 5-0, 2.14 in 11 starts for Rookie-level Orem last year and opened this season with a jump to high Class A Inland Empire. But the 22-year-old Maronde developed elbow and back problems and had to take a step back.

"We're lengthening him out to a starter and as you go through that lengthening process, you're always going to run into some physical hiccups," Dipoto said.
"We sent Nick back to the Arizona League and extended spring training from Inland. We allowed him to get back into a throwing program to stretch his arm out. He's hit the ground running and he's been terrific since."

To say the least—in his first three starts back in the California League, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Maronde didn't allow a run in 18 innings. He yielded just six hits, struck out 17 and walked five during that stretch. In his second start back, he threw seven hitless innings, striking out 10.

"He's 89-95 (mph). He'll touch 96 with his fastball," Dipoto said. "It's an above-average slider and has been since the day he was drafted. He's been outstanding."

Angel Food

• The Angels signed Indians 2005 first-rounder Trevor Crowe to a minor league contract after he was released from the Indians' Triple-A team. Crowe, 28, has had his career derailed by multiple injuries over the past two years. He was hitting .250/.336/.386 at the time of his release. Ironically, Crowe was the player the Angels were expected to receive in exchange for veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu in a spring training trade that fell apart. The Angels eventually released Abreu in late April, getting nothing in return when he then signed with the Dodgers.

• Righthander Eric Hurley's return to the majors was a short-lived triumph. Hurley, 27, fought his way back after rotator cuff surgery and a broken wrist that caused him to miss all of 2009-10 and was promoted by the Angels in early July. He did not get into a game with the Angels, was quickly returned to Triple-A and released two weeks later.