2 early-season injury issues LA Angels shouldn’t worry about, 1 that’s scary

Injuries are part of the game, but not all of them are severe.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Robert Stephenson
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Robert Stephenson / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Every team deals with injuries. Los Angeles Angels fans know that fact all too well. Mike Trout appeared in just 82 games last season, and Shohei Ohtani's injury during the second half of 2023 torpedoed any chance of the Angels making a late-season run at the playoffs.

It's commonplace among Angels fans to joke about Anthony Rendon's constant presence on the injured list, but so far this season, the Halos' third baseman has avoided a trip to the IL. However, that has yet to help Rendon's batting average.

While injuries are part of the game, some are not nearly as concerning as others. If your team's superstar shortstop is shelved for three weeks with an ankle sprain, that's not nearly as detrimental as a frontline starter missing the entire season due to a torn UCL. Which early-season injury issues are not a big deal, and which one could have larger ramifications down the road?

LA Angels reliever Robert Stephenson is already making progress

Robert Stephenson was the Angels' biggest free agent acquisition this past offseason. That reality has some Angels fans wondering whether to laugh or cry. While Stephenson isn't the big-name free agent pickup most LA fans were hoping for, the right-hander had a lot of success with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2023.

Unfortunately, a shoulder injury sidelined Stephenson for most of the spring and kept the veteran off the Angels' Opening Day roster. But all signs point to Stephenson's shoulder issue being minor in nature, and the former first-round pick should be back on the mound soon.

Stephenson has already began ramping up with a couple bullpen sessions recently, and the next step will be a trip to the minor leagues for a rehab assignment. Stephenson didn't participate in any Cactus League games this spring, and will need a tuneup before heading out to the hill for a major league game.

The Angels will need Stephenson in their bullpen. Some of his peripheral numbers from last season were quite good, and the former starter-turned-reliever is likely to help bridge the gap from the eighth to the ninth inning (and Angels' reliever Carlos Estévez).

LA Angels fans shouldn't be concerned about Michael Stefanic's injury

The Orange County Register reported back in mid-March that Michael Stefanic wasn't recovering from his injury as well as he'd hoped. The Angels infielder suffered a quad injury during spring training and has yet to begin a rehab assignment.

Stefanic was expected to break camp with the Halos this spring following a successful stint at both the big league level and Triple-A in 2023. But Stefanic's injury helped non-roster invitee Miguel Sanó secure the final spot on the Angels' Opening Day roster instead.

In a reversal, recent reports have emerged claiming that Stefanic has resumed baseball activities at the Angels' training facility in Arizona. That would seem to suggest that Stefanic is recovering well and could be back in the Halos lineup later this month or sometime in early-May.

The Angels don't have many infielders with minor-league options remaining, so LA may send Stefanic to Triple-A on a rehab assignment, then keep him in Salt Lake until an injury or poor performance warrant a change. The good news for Angels fans is that Stefanic is on the road to recovery and the team has enough depth to weather the storm until his return.

Sam Bachman's recovery from shoulder surgery should worry LA Angels fans

Sam Bachman finally made it to The Show in 2023. After being selected by the Angels with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, Bachman made his big league debut last season and appeared in 11 games for the Halos.

But after being placed on the 15-day IL with shoulder inflammation, Bachman was then transferred to the 60-day IL. While trying to ready himself for a late-season return in 2023, Bachman was shut down after his shoulder failed to respond during rehab. The right-hander eventually underwent surgery and has been slowly working his way back this spring.

Bachman was hopeful to be part of the festivities during spring training, but his throwing program has only allowed the righty to throw off flat ground to this point. Prior to the start of the season, it was determined that Bachman would miss considerable time, and the team chose to place the pitcher on the 60-day IL.

That effectively puts Bachman out of action June, and even that might not be enough time for his shoulder to heal. These types of injuries are difficult enough for hitters, but pitchers need even more time to recover from these varieties of surgical procedures.

Though Angels fans shouldn't necessarily panic with regards to Bachman's injury, seeing how this whole situation has been handled is a bit concerning. Sometimes team doctors and trainers don't know the severity of an injury until further testing is done. Angels fans are hopeful that was the issue with Bachman's injury and it's not something more serious.

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