I've pitched for the Angels at this level since 2001 and now I'm the longest tenured pitcher on the staff.
Over the years, we've gone through some pitchers. At the same time, the front office has worked hard to put together a very talented staff. In my opinion, we have the best overall staff, from starters to closers, in the league. It's something special and I'm very happy to be part of it.
The hard part when you've been around for a while is seeing other guys in the bullpen leave. It was a special group that we had when I first came up. It started with one or two guys a year leaving. Those guys were true ballplayers. They went out and played the game right.
A lot of the guys who were in the bullpen when I first came up were instrumental in my development. A lot of it is just going about your business in the bullpen, but I was able to watch and learn how they prepared for the games and what they did.
Troy Percival was unbelievable. I tried to watch everything he did. I watched video with him and tried to see what he saw in the tape. People tend to think he was just a hard thrower, but he knew how to pitch more than anything. He used every minute of videotape to his advantage. He'll be a good pitching coach someday because he knows what it takes to get stuff done.
With the additions from last winter like Justin Speier and Darren Oliver, we have an amazing bullpen. Our bullpen is full of setup guys. When you combine that with the starters we have, it shortens games remarkably.
Because of our bullpen depth, we have the ability make it a four-inning game. We're happy to have everyone here. We'll do what we can to get the ball to Frankie Rodriguez and let him do his thing.
Despite starting 68 games at three different levels in the Minors, Scot Shields has made his mark as a dependable setup big-league reliever. Shields, who had a 3.86 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 77 innings in 2007, has a 2.95 career ERA and is under contract with the Angels for another three seasons.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.