After stepping away from baseball last April, former Angels right-hander Ty Buttrey said during a Twitter Spaces conversation tonight that he wanted to return to playing (hat tip to Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group). Buttrey has remained on the Angels’ restricted list for the last nine-plus months.
A fourth-round pick for the Red Sox in the 2012 draft, Buttrey was dealt to Anaheim as part of the July 2018 trade that sent Ian Kinsler to Boston. The trade led to Buttrey making his big league debut, and he emerged as a solid member of the L.A. bullpen in 2018-19, posting a 3.86 ERA and 27.4% strikeout rate in 88 2/3 innings of those two seasons.
The strikeouts dropped off to just a 16.1% rate in 2020, however, as Buttrey struggled to a 5.81 ERA over 26 1/3 frames. The diminished K% was just one of several subpar Statcast metrics on Buttrey’s record, though he was far from the only player to struggle amidst the unusual circumstances of the abbreviated 2020 season. The Halos were expecting Buttrey to rebound last year, but instead, the 28-year-old wanted to leave the grind of big league life.
“I couldn’t help but notice that my love and passion for this game had started to diminish.“,” Buttrey explained as part of a an Instagram post about his decision. Simply making it as a professional ballplayer seemed enough for Buttrey, who said “I completely lost the drive to continue doing something that I didn’t love because in my mind, I already accomplished it. It was never my dream to make it to the Hall of Fame, win a World Series, or become an All-Star. In my head, I accomplished what I wanted, to prove people wrong and accomplish something extremely hard.”
Angels manager Joe Maddon told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger and other reporters last spring that Buttrey informed the team of his decision prior to the team optioning the righty to the minors at the end of Spring Training. Going by Maddon’s statements of support, the door would seemingly be open for Buttrey to return to the Angels once the lockout is over, and the team could get a look at him in camp before deciding on any next move.
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