Collin Cowgill Nears Comeback from Injury
By Grant Avise
Collin Cowgill is on his way back to Anaheim. He started his minor league rehabilitation games in the minors this week. Playing for the Los Angeles Angels single-A affiliate Inland Empire 66ers. Where and when he will be able to play is a major league question, though. Cowgill is strictly an outfielder although a versatile one. Center field is fairly well-spoken for, you could say, as Mike Trout’s territory. Kole Calhoun has established himself, pretty well, as the Angels everyday right fielder. That leaves one outfield spot. Left field. The most crowded position on the Angels. With the addition of three outfielders before the trade deadline, and Matt Joyce who will be coming off the disabled list from a concussion and lower back pain soon and you also have to consider when the major league rosters expand from 25 players to 40 players available. You can just about guarantee that Efren Navarro, Grant Green, and Daniel Robertson will be called up, all of whom can play left field as well.
Cowgill, has been sidelined, since May 28th with a broken wrist. Before then, he was platooning left field with Matt Joyce. Joyce has struggled all season batting a mere .178 and the Angels have been looking for offense out of the left field spot because of it. Cowgill, is not the power left handed bat the Angels sought after and failed to attain before the trade deadline but he does possess an interesting skill set. He could be a sparkplug for this struggling offense. His speed and heads-up baseball instinct along with gritty play, make him a valuable piece to add into the mix. However, just where he fits into that mix is the question. With 2 of the 3 outfield spots locked down and 5 men (not to mention the 3 in the minors when the roster expands) vying for the left field its tough to say just how, Cowgill, can crack the line-up.
In his first 2 games back of rehab, Cowgill was the designated hitter in both games, and went 1-6 with a walk, single, and run scored. Granted, these were his first two games of baseball in nearly 3 months but not what you would hope, a major league hitter would do facing single-A pitching. When asked what his approach was at the plate Cowgill simply responded “Try not to hurt the wrist,” Cowgill who batted .180 (11 for 61) before getting hurt said. “I don’t care if I go 0 for 4 (like he did Thursday night) I just want to get my swings and stay healthy.”
Cowgill chuckled and said “I don’t know” when I asked him how he thought that he fit into the current Angels line-up. The funny thing is, nobody knows just how any of those guys are going to fit into the line-up the rest of the season. All that is known right now is that the team is in a serious funk, especially on the road. Going 1-10 in their last 11 road games. Any new ideas or blood that might help turn things around are a welcomed addition to the club.
The Angels are still far from out of it. They trail the Houston Astros by only 2.5 games and still hold onto the second wild card spot by 2 games over the Baltimore. However, the Texas Rangers are gaining traction in the AL West and the Orioles are still playing good baseball. Anything can still happen.
Cowgill said he would begin a second rehab assignment Saturday, the next step in his rehab work with the Triple-A Salt Lake City Bees. Just how long he will be there is still unknown. My guess would be at least a week or until the rosters expand. Will he help thw ANgels down the stretch no one knows. I guess we will have to wait and see.