The Los Angeles Angels head into the final week of April trying to find their footing. At 8-12, the season is not lost by any means. The team’s offense needs to find itself sooner rather than later.
1B/DH Luis Valbuena, (signed in the off season by the Los Angeles Angels) is set to begin a rehab assignment on Monday, 4/24. As reported by the LA Times’ Pedro Moura, Valbuena will report to High-A Inland Empire for what will likely end up being a week’s worth of games. Valbuena, out since late Spring Training with a hamstring strain, does have experience at 1B, 3B, and 2B.
However, the majority of Valbuena’s time is expected to come in a 1B platoon, as it has been hinted at since his signing. Valbuena’s return looks to leave young Angels 1B/DH CJ Cron on the bench or dangled as trade bait. Valbuena hit 25 HR just as recently as 2015, and the Angels who signed him to a two-year contract in the off season will be looking for an injection of power and production with his return.
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The Angels made a trio of disabled list moves over the last week. The first of which transferred closer Huston Street to the 60-day DL on Monday 4/17. The move while made to clear space on the 40-man roster for a new acquisition, came on the heals of Andrew Bailey ending up on the 10 day disabled list. Both of those factors led to speculation of whether relief ace, Cam Bedrosian might finally make his ascendancy to the closer’s role. Unfortunately, Bedrosian himself ended up on the 10-day disabled list with a nagging groin injury. In between those two moves was starting pitcher Garrett Richards also moving from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list. Richards is still battling what is being called a biceps strain and nerve irritation. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Angels fans everywhere hold their collective breath about the pitcher’s stem cell repaired pitching elbow.
The moves continued for the Los Angels Angels as they designated for assignment pitcher, Kirby Yates. Yates, was recalled just yesterday, and will now face clearing waivers for the Angels for a second time this month. To coincide with the move, relief pitcher, Brooks Pounders to help in the bullpen. Pounders, has already found his way into action for the big club.
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Minor League outfielder, Ryan LaMarre was also traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for a player-to-be-named-later or cash considerations. LaMarre, who had not appeared in the majors with the Angels was signed last winter after brief appearances with Reds and Red Sox the previous two seasons.
For the Angels, the early season injuries are a cause for concern. However, the area of greater concern is the offensive struggles facing the team. The injuries have hit the bullpen hard, but outside of Valbuena, have not impacted an offense, who as a whole, have also, not recently impacted many games positively. The Angels will wrap their four game set with Blue Jays tomorrow, before heading into a three game series at home, against the Oakland A’s.