TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels cut eight players from Major League camp Sunday: pitchers Nick Maronde, Chad Cordero, Fernando Cabrera and Kevin Johnson, outfielders Scott Cousins and Matt Young, infielder Tommy Field and catcher Luke Carlin.
With Brad Mills being claimed off waivers by the Rangers and Vernon Wells looking likely to be traded to the Yankees, the Angels' Spring Training roster is now at 34 players.
Maronde, the Angels' top pitching prospect and ranked No. 2 in the organization by MLB.com, came into camp battling for a spot in the bullpen, and even though he didn't win it, the 23-year-old left-hander will remain a reliever in Double-A.
Maronde was primarily a starter in the Minors, going 11-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 31 games (29 starts). But he thrived in the bullpen as a September callup last year, giving up one run and striking out seven in six innings, and the Angels believe that's where his future lies.
"He's a guy that's going to be able to go in there in one-inning spurts and just do what a guy who pitches in the back end can do," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has that upside."
The latest cuts provide some clarity to the Opening Day roster -- though the pending Wells trade could affect some of that.
With Ryan Madson starting the season on the disabled list, Garrett Richards, David Carpenter and lefty specialist Mitch Stetter are the remaining relievers currently vying for two open spots in the bullpen.
Infielders Andrew Romine, Luis Jimenez, Brendan Harris, Luis Rodriguez and Efren Navarro and outfielders J.B. Shuck and Kole Calhoun are in competition for three bench spots (if the Wells trade goes through). Hank Conger, Chris Snyder and John Hester are fighting for the backup catcher job.
Cordero, looking to make a comeback after being out of baseball for almost two full seasons, may start the season in Class A to get his feet wet, but that has yet to be determined. The 31-year-old former Nats closer has given up 12 runs in 5 2/3 Cactus League innings this spring.
"First of all, it's remarkable, what he's been through in the last couple of years on and off the field, for him to show so well in our camp," Scioscia said. "I think he's on his way."
Trade of Wells won't change Bourjos' outlook
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The clear beneficiary of Vernon Wells' departure to the Yankees -- a deal that is still not done but appears headed in that direction -- is Peter Bourjos.
Bourjos came in as the Angels' starting center fielder, but with an accomplished veteran like Wells on the bench, there seemed to be some pressure on Bourjos to get off to a good start in order to maintain his everyday role.
Now, it seems Bourjos has some breathing room -- though he doesn't see it that way.
"I still want to get off to a good start," Bourjos said. "I don't think I'm going to put any extra pressure on myself, or any less, now that Vernon's not here. I just want to go out there and play the game that I know how to play, play it at a high level."
Bourjos, one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, batted .271 with 12 homers, 22 stolen bases and 11 triples in 2011. But he batted .167 last April, rode the bench when Mike Trout established himself and received only 15 plate appearances from the start of August to the end of the season.
The 25-year-old has had a nice spring, batting .333, but so had Wells, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia has said -- without providing specifics -- that Wells would get his opportunities to play.
Now, it appears, that option is gone.
Bourjos had nothing but high praise for the way Wells handled a tough situation and the way he treated everyone.
"He's a great teammate," Bourjos said, "great person."
Asked if trading Wells is an indication that the Angels believe he can handle an everyday role, Bourjos said: "Yeah, I guess. But you still have to go out and prove it. That's all I'm concerned about doing is having good at-bats and earning the job."
Angels lose Mills on waivers to Texas
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' hopes that Brad Mills would slip through waivers vanished Sunday, when the left-handed starting pitcher was claimed by the division-rival Rangers instead.
Mills, 28, was out of options and had to clear waivers in order for the Angels to put him in their Triple-A Salt Lake rotation to start the season, as planned.
Mills, acquired from the Blue Jays for catcher Jeff Mathis in December 2011, has spent his six-year pro career pitching almost entirely in the Minors, going 41-38 with a 3.97 ERA in 112 games (106 starts). The 28-year-old left-hander has also logged 53 1/3 innings in parts of four seasons in the Majors, posting a 7.76 ERA.
Mills had given up four runs in six Cactus League innings this spring. The Rangers want to keep Mills as Triple-A depth, but will also have to pass him through waivers to do so.
• Ryan Madson threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Sunday and Scioscia said he "felt great." There's still no timeline for a return to game action.
• Jason Vargas held the Giants scoreless through six innings Sunday, giving up five hits and striking out five, then gave up a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh before taken out. "I feel good with where I am right now," he said. "My pitch count is where it needs to be."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read 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.