The LA Angels were playing good baseball going into July, then tragedy struck. Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room and things started changing.
Flash forward two days later to July 3rd. The LA Angels were on the field with heavy hearts trying to rebound from the tragedy while also trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. Tommy La Stella was in the midst of his best season in his career and he was an AL All-Star. La Stella hit 16 homers and 44 RBIs and was hitting .300.
Then injury befell La Stella as he fouled a ball off his shin and crumpled to the ground in major pain. It was confirmed a couple of days later that La Stella had a fractured tibia and would miss up to 12 weeks.
Since that time the Angels have had a plethora of injuries that has decimated the pitching staff, they have fallen out of contention and are headed to their worst season since before Mike Scioscia took over in 2000. All the while La Stella could only sit and watch and hope to get back to help his team.
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Unfortunately La Stella was not able to come back as soon as he would have liked and it looked for all intensive purposes that he would not come back this season. However that all changed Friday as La Stella was able to be the designated hitter in a 4-0 loss to Houston. It may seem like a small token, but for La Stella it meant the world to be able to come back and play even if for only a few days.
La Stella will be a big part of the Angels plans for the infield most likely at second base and possibly third base along with David Fletcher. Now the interesting thing will be to see where guys like Matt Thaiss, Luis Rengifo, Zack Cozart, and possibly even Taylor Ward. La Stella and Fletcher have done enough to have solidified their roster spots whereas the others mentioned will have some work to do in Spring Training to earn a spot on next season’s roster.
Whatever La Stella does in these three games against Houston will be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. However, it will be a chance for La Stella to get the love from the Angel fans who appreciated what he has done in 2019. The Angels are not playing for anything other than preparing for next season.
Let’s just enjoy seeing La Stella on the field.