The same old story for the LA Angels is happening again: Injuries. It seems like an old 45 record that is stuck in one spot and keeps repeating. Unfortunately they can’t seem to fast-forward past it.
So far in the past month the LA Angels have lost two relievers to Tommy John surgery ,Blake Wood and Keynan Middleton (torn UCL in their elbows). Then back-up catcher Rene Rivera had to have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee that will put him out until after thee All-Star Break. More recently Kole Calhoun went down with an oblique injury and Andrelton Simmons went down with a Grade 2 ankle sprain. The big blow was Japanese two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani going on the DL last week with UCL damage in his elbow.
You can now add Garrett Richards (hamstring) and Zack Cozart (sprained shoulder) to that list, although the extent of their injuries is not yet known. Yes, Angel players are dropping like flies. Sound familiar. Unfortunately this is a song that the Angels want to delete from their playlist, but can’t. Injuries have severely hampered the team over the past couple of seasons making it almost impossible to keep up with the AL elite teams (Yankees, Astros, and Red Sox).
Angel manager Mike Scioscia has done a good job to keep this team together and in contention despite all the injuries. However, if they Angels lose too many more players they might as well relocate to Salt Lake City as that is where many of the players will have to come from in order to field a team. Already they have had to dip into the pitching staff of Salt Lake plucking out Jaime Barria and Eduardo Paredes, and soon possibly Parker Bridwell. Jose Briceno, Kaleb Cowart (also on the DL now), Jose Miguel Fernandez, David Fletcher, and Nolan Fontana have all been recalled to fill in for some of the injured Angel players.
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Yes, it is safe to say the Angels have an injury issue in 2018 of epedimic proportion. With the addition of corner infielder Jefry Marte to the DL with a sprained left wrist the Angels have a MLB leading 11 players on the disabled list. If Cozart and Richards both end up there as well the Angels will have a Baker’s Dozen unlucky 13 players on the DL.
The good news, well maybe good news, is that Kole Calhoun will be starting a rehab assignment in Triple-A Salt Lake City and could be back within the next week. Calhoun is hitting a paltry .145 with one home run and 11 RBIs so far this season, so getting him back probably won’t help much on the offensive side. The only hope is that the rest has done Calhoun some good both physically and mentally and that he will come back rejuvenated.
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The other bit of encouraging news is that Shohei Ohtani could come back this season as a designated hitter, but not as a pitcher most likely. Ohtani’s bat from the left side of the plate has been sorely missed over the past 10 games. The only question is how Mike Scioscia will manage the playing time between Ohtani, Albert Pujols, and Luis Valbuena. He could keep it the same and allow Ohtani to hit four days a week and be a pinch-hitter with Albert and Valbuena splitting time at first base. But stealing a phrase from Scioscia himself that we have heard many times over the past 18 years “We will cross that bridge when we come to it”.
Hopefully the Angels will start getting some of these players back in the next few weeks and Richards’ and Cozart’s injuries are not too serious. If this happens the Angels will still be able to contend for a wild-card spot this season. If not it will be another lost season and probably Mike Scioscia’s Swan song.