Outfielder Peter Bourjos, who has been out with a broken bone in his right wrist since June 30th, began a rehab assignment yesterday for the Los Angeles Angels triple-A affilitate Salt Lake Bees. If all goes well for Bourjos, he could be back with the team and patrolling center field by sometime next week.
When he returns the Angels will have to make a corresponding roster move to make room for Bourjos. Who will be the odd-man out?
With Grant Green filling in for the injured Howie Kendrick and the Angels in need of infield depth, they will most likely retain Thomas Field on the bench. J.B. Shuck who has filled in nicely in his rookie season with the Angels will almost assuredly go back to being the Angels fourth outfielder. That leaves Collin Cowgill or Kole Calhoun and two likely candidates to head back to triple-A.
Both have played well in their short time on the Angels big league roster. The right-handed hitting Cowgill has posted an acceptable .755 OPS with the Angels while showcasing some solid defense in the corner outfield positions resulting in being worth half a win above replacement level in just 20 games.
The left-handed hitting Calhoun has been a solid addition as well. The fan favorite has done well filling in at left field as well as some time at first-base. He’s also slugged three home runs in just 41 plate appearances while posting a .985 OPS.
In the end the Angels have a tough decision to make. Both have showcased their ability to hit and play solid defense. In the end, it might come down to one thing: which side of the plate they bat from.
When Bourjos returns, the Angels will have two left-handed hitting outfielders on the bench in Calhoun and Shuck. They will also have the switch-hitting Conger whose splits have showcased that he’s more successful from the left-side of the plate. With Shuck and Conger already hitting from the left-side, the Angels might choose to send Calhoun back to Triple-A to keep a right-hand hitting outfielder on the bench in Cowgill. If the Angels choose to send Cowgill back to Salt Lake, Thomas Field would be the only true right-handed hitter on the Angels bench.
Then again, if Calhoun does go back to Triple-A, the Angels find themselves short on first basemen with Mark Trumbo being the only one on the roster (with both Pujols and Kendrick on the disabled-list) with any experience manning the three position. A tough decision awaits.
While Angels fans might not want to hear it, Calhoun seems to be the most likely candidate to get sent back. It allows Scioscia more flexibility off the bench in matching up hitters against pitchers. And between him and Cowgill, Calhoun is the one most likely to contribute to the Angels long term. By sending him back to triple-A, he gets regular playing time until he gets recalled when rosters expand on September 1st.
Who do you think will be the odd-man out?