Ryan Madson is “ahead of schedule” in his Tommy John surgery recovery

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Ryan Madson is expected to be the Angels’ closer if he’s healthy for Opening Day following Tommy John elbow surgery that wiped out his entire 2012 season and general manager Jerry Dipoto says the right-hander is “on or ahead of schedule.”

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that Madson threw off a mound Monday for the first time since going under the knife and “will continue throwing twice a week until spring training begins.”

Dipoto described the Angels as “encouraged” by Madson’s progress, so it certainly sounds like he’ll be ready for spring training barring any setbacks. Madson, who had the surgery last April after signing a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Reds, got $3.5 million plus incentives from the Angels.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.