Angels’ bench competition takes a surprising turn with latest injury news

The Angels will have to figure out pretty quickly if they can afford to wait on Michael Stefanic.

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Angels have had a pretty interesting camp thus far this spring. Young guys have been showing out early, some unfortunate injuries have popped up, and little has been decided regarding the outstanding competitions for the open spots on the roster.

For the Angels, their bench competition in particular is going to have some outsized weight this spring. LA is banking on some young guys taking the next step in 2024. Given that and the fact that the Angels are lacking in top end talent at some positions, having quality depth on the bench is going to be critical.

Unfortunately, one of the guys that was set to be a big part of that bench plan, Michael Stefanic, is hurt and now everything is up in the air.

LA Angels' bench competition is wide open after Stefanic's injury

Stefanic was/is a perfect bench piece for the Angels. He can help out at multiple infield spots if necessary and had a really nice season at the plate in 2023, where he slashed .290/.380/.355 in limited playing time. With his quad injury, LA may have to look elsewhere for a bench infielder, especially if Stefanic can't progress to doing more baseball activities and workouts soon.

Luckily, the Angels have some good bench options in camp if need be. The favorite in the event that Stefanic is out for a while is without question veteran Ehire Adrianza. Adrianza was a very capable backup infielder for the Braves until he got hurt and ultimately fell out of favor there. He is a switch-hitter who can also play all over the field, and was likely to give Stefanic a run for his money even without the injury.

The Angels have other players that could fit the bill as well. Kyren Paris can really run and has shown some power in the minors, but will have to prove that he is recovered from thumb surgery he had last year. Despite letting Livan Soto go on waivers in early February only to claim him back almost two weeks later, he could be in the mix as well.

All of this probably becomes moot if Stefanic bounces back from his injury. He was the favorite going into camp and, if he gets back on the field quickly, the infield bench spot is likely his for the taking.

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