Los Angeles Angels announced Tuesday afternoon that they will be sending hard throwing right-handed reliever Kenyan Middleton to the 10-day DL with that the team is calling right elbow inflammation.
Halo fans know this song far too well. This is the fifth time the Angels have played the “elbow inflammation” song already this season for a pitcher. Just like “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations, that the team used to blast during the 7th inning stretch, fans are tired of hearing it.
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Elbow inflammation can mean a number of things. It can be just what it sounds like and no other problems arise. However it can also mean much more serious problems. For the Angels it seems too often to mean season ending Tommy John Surgery.
Kenyan Middleton, just 24 years old moved up through the Angels farm system quickly and made name for himself last season when he was able to stick with the big league team. He has been part of the closer-by-committee group that manager Mike Scioscia has put together this season, however in recent weeks it appeared that Middleton was the front-runner to be THE closer.
The Angels are already leading the Majors in relief innings pitched and Middleton has pitched 15 of those innings in 13 games. He has posted a 2.40 era while doing so with 15 strikeouts. He can also be a little erratic at times. He already has 7 walks on the season and one of those walks came back to hurt him on Friday night against the Yankees.
With the Angels leading 3-2, Middleton came in to try to close the game in the bottom of the 9th. A walk to Yankees outfielder Brett Gardener who would eventually come around to score and tie the game at 3. Angels would go on and lose the game by the score of 4-3 in extra innings.
The loss of Middleton is a big blow to a bullpen who has been overworked but for the most part risen to the challenge. The Oregon native has not shied away from making comments about his desire to be the teams closer.