TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels reliever Rich Thompson is approaching yet another important spring. Once again, he's out of options. And once again, there's plenty of competition for the open spots in the bullpen.
"It's always like this," Thompson said. "There's always a lot of competition in the bullpen; there's always about 12 or 13 guys in the mix for seven spots. You just have to do your work, pitch the way you can pitch, and then things will take care of themselves. If you're on the club, you're on the club."
Assuming the Angels go the traditional route and start the season with seven relievers, there seems to be only two spots open in camp.
Closer Jordan Walden, lefties Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi and veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins are basically locks to make the team. And if Jason Isringhausen, the 39-year-old former closer who recently signed a Minor League deal, proves he's healthy, seems to have a spot in that bullpen, too.
That leaves the likes of Trevor Bell, Bobby Cassevah, Kevin Jepsen, Michael Kohn and Thompson -- and there can always be a dark horse in the mix -- competing for the remaining two spots.
Of that group, only Thompson is without options.
"It kind of puts the pressure, I guess, on me and them," said Thompson, a 27-year-old right-hander who hails from Australia. "But after last year's season, I'd like to think I showed some things they would like and are looking to put in their club."
Thompson pitched his first full season in the big leagues last year, posting a 3.00 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and a 2.80 strikeout-to-walk ratio while finishing 16 of his 44 games.
Halos sign Rincon to Minor League deal
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels signed veteran reliever Juan Rincon to a Minor League deal -- though it doesn't include a Spring Training invite, so the 33-year-old right-hander will stay on the Minor League half of the complex throughout the spring.
Rincon signed a Minor League deal with the Dodgers last February, but spent most of 2011 pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Independent League, putting up a 2.98 ERA in 42 games.
A Major League veteran of 10 years, Rincon made his name as a setup man for the Twins, posting a 2.93 ERA while averaging 71 games per season from 2003-06. The Venezuela native has only made two appearances in the big leagues since the end of the 2009 season.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia actually has an interesting history with Rincon.
Back in 2005 with the Twins, the righty served a 10-game suspension for performance-enhancing substances, and Scioscia cited Rincon -- who had pitched well against the Angels leading up to the suspension -- as an example of why the initial penalty for a positive test needed to be more stringent.
Scioscia misses day of camp due to illness
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia was absent from the club on Sunday, when position players were scheduled to get their physicals and report to Spring Training camp.
A team representative said Scioscia was feeling ill and opted to stay home for the workout at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex.
It's believed to be the first time Scioscia has missed a day of Spring Training since taking over as Angels skipper in 2000.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.