Jose Rojas, 28, finally breaks through to the big leagues with the Angels

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Mike DiGiovanna
·2 min read
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Angels' Jose Rojas high-fives teammates after scoring on a double by Wilfredo Tovar.
After spending years in the minors, Angels infielder Jose Rojas will be part of the team's opening day roster. (Matt York / Associated Press)

The Angels lost their last Cactus League game Saturday, falling to the San Diego Padres 2-0 in seven innings.

ON THE TEAM: Jose Rojas, a former Anaheim High School and Vanguard University infielder who at age 28 is still looking for his first big league at-bat, was informed by manager Joe Maddon that he has made the opening-day roster as a utility man. “It’s pretty surreal — it hasn’t really sunk in,” Rojas, a 36th-round pick in 2016, said Saturday. “I’m sure it will once we get going. I’ve been working my entire life for this.” The left-handed-hitting Rojas batted .293 with 31 homers, 39 doubles and 107 RBIs for triple-A Salt Lake in 2019.

ON THE MOUND: Aaron Slegers gave up one hit and struck out one in 1 2/3 scoreless innings and has not given up a run in five innings over four spring appearances. Though the 6-foot-10 right-hander was slowed this spring by back spasms, he appears ready to open the season. “I’m a big fan of his stuff, strike-throwing, the person,” Maddon said. “We just have to make sure he’s healthy.” … Jaime Barria, who is battling for a bullpen spot, gave up one hit and struck out one in a sharp two-inning, 32-pitch start.

AT THE PLATE: The Padres scored the only runs in the fifth on Jorge Mateo’s two-out, two-run double off left-hander Alex Claudio. Justin Upton had the only hit — a first-inning double to right field — off San Diego left-hander Blake Snell, who struck out six and walked one in five scoreless innings.

EXTRA BASES: Right fielder Jo Adell made a diving catch of Eguy Rosario’s flare to the gap in the seventh. … The Angels made the signing of veteran reliever AJ Ramos to a minor league deal official Saturday. The 34-year-old right-hander has a 3.08 ERA in 377 games in eight seasons and was an All-Star with Miami in 2016, but he had shoulder surgery in 2018 and has made only three appearances in the last two seasons. … Veteran outfielder Jon Jay, released Friday, was re-signed to a minor league deal Saturday.

UP NEXT: Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney will face Dodgers left-hander David Price in the opener of the three-game Freeway Series on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Angel Stadium. TV: FSW. Radio: AM 830.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.