The LA Angels season has red like a movie script: “The Bad News Bears”. The Angels so far have had 14 different players on the DL and it just got worse with the news that yet another starting pitcher has torn his UCL in his elbow.
Angels starter Nick Tropeano, who exited early from his last night due to elbow soreness, has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which will sideline him for the rest of the season and most likely require him to have the dreaded Tommy John surgery which would keep him out until 2018.
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The Angels have now lost their third starting pitcher to this same injury in a three and half month stretch. With Tropeano’s injury in the mix now, earlier plans of trading a starting pitcher either Hector Santiago or Matt Shoemaker in the non-waiver trade deadline have now been shelved.
“With so many back to back, we’re looking in a mirror,” Manager Mike Scioscia told the LA Times on Tuesday, ” You definitely look internally. You analyze everything from the throwing program to how you monitor guys. We’ve been very healthy over the course of our time here.”
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In fact, since Scioscia took over the managing duties in 2000, there have been only three pitchers in the Angels organization that have had this ligament-repacement surgery; Matt Wise in 2003, Micheal Kohn in 2012, and Tyler Skaggs in 2014.
Tropeano told LA Times that he felt “upset” and “it was tough blow for him”. Possible replacements for Tropeano in the rotation could include Skaggs, who is due to return after a two-year absence from the majors. They could also use Jhoulys Chacin for a start or two if they don’t want to recall Skaggs just yet. A longshot would be for the Angels to call up their top pitching prospect Nate Smith from Triple-A Salt Lake City to make Tropeano’s next scheduled start which would be next Tuesday in Kansas City.
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The situation of the starting rotation looks bleak, as Jered Weaver and injured C.J. Wilson‘s contacts are due to expire. On top of Tropeano, fellow starter Andrew Heaney will not return until the 2018 season, and Richards could be out just as long depending on his stem cell treatment progresses.
Santiago, Shoemaker, and Skaggs will all need to stay healthy to insure the bulk of the starting rotation stays firm for the rest of this season as well as next season. Jhoulys Chacin and even Tim Lincecum could be added to the mix season if the Angels chose to bring either of them back.
Only time will tell, hopefully the staff will remain intact and the Angels can continue their climb back into contention.