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Angels release veteran Doug Fister amid emergence of other pitchers

Pitcher Doug Fister throws during a spring training workout in February. (John Raoux / Associated Press)

The Angels on Wednesday cut short their experiment to find starting-pitching depth on the midseason free-agent market. They released veteran right-hander Doug Fister from their triple-A affiliate.

After the Angels asked him to remain in the minor leagues to make more starts, Fister requested and received his release, under the terms of the opt-out clause contained in his contract. The club paid him less than $20,000.

Fister, 33, had sustained success in the major leagues but struggled to a 4.64 earned-run average for Houston last year. His velocity steadily decreased in recent seasons.

The Angels repeatedly said they were encouraged by the velocity he displayed over three triple-A starts, in which he logged a 4.02 ERA.

But general manager Billy Eppler and the club’s staffers have grown increasingly confident in other pitchers who have emerged in the five weeks since Fister signed.

“Billy went through all of the scenarios,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, “and felt like right now, this is the way to go.”

A year ago this week, the Angels promoted Tim Lincecum and watched him pitch to a league-worst 9.16 ERA over nine starts. Then, because of injuries, they had no alternatives.

This year, they have successfully turned to right-handers Alex Meyer and Parker Bridwell from triple-A Salt Lake.

“Both of them have pitched well,” Eppler said. “We’re comfortable with those guys. That was, ultimately, the decision that our baseball operations and our staff has made.”

Eppler said the possibility of Fister’s moving into a bullpen role was not broached.

Short hops

Huston Street arrived in New York on Wednesday. The right-hander expects to be activated Thursday for the first time this season. He was out because of a lat strain he suffered in March. … Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (forearm strain) again played catch Wednesday, hoping to be activated in time to start Sunday in Boston. … Mike Trout continues to work out in his hometown of Millville, N.J. Scioscia said Trout was taking “baby steps” in his recovery from a torn thumb ligament.