Los Angeles Angels right-handed reliever Felix Pena will find his way on the 26-man roster for a majority of the season. However, he’ll likely start the 162-game campaign on the Injured List after suffering a hamstring injury during Spring Training.
The severity of the injury remained unknown for several days after he was forced to exit the Angels game on Monday. However, it was revealed Wednesday that he’s facing a two-to-four week recover window with a Grade 1 hamstring strain.
This shouldn’t be a long-term problem, but it will keep him out of the Opening Day lineup. Angels manager Joe Maddon gave a positive spin to in the injury after the news was public, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“It’s Grade 1, if you’re going to pull it, that’s the one you’re looking for,” Maddon said. “It wasn’t awful, I heard. It could be as little as two weeks. But it’s going to be hard to visualize him being ready for the start of the season.”
The injury to Pena — and the recent announcement from Maddon that the team is looking for an eight-man bullpen — could open things up for one of the other pitchers on the Angels Spring Training roster. However, Maddon did not rule out the possibility of trades and other outside options:
“Obviously, you never want that,” Maddon said of Peña’s injury. “But I still think we’re OK. There are still different ways to get this done. And who knows, maybe at the end of camp, there might be things available from other teams. Félix has been doing really well but I don’t think we’re at a critical stage or anything.”
If the Angels bring someone from within, they could be looking at Jake Faria or Aaron Slegers. Both are questionable to make the final roster as is, but the short-term severity of Pena’s injury could lead to one of them getting a chance.
If they do look outside, it would be for a long-term solution that could reduce Pena’s role entirely. As it stands, Raisel Iglesias, Ty Buttrey, Mike Mayers, Junior Guerra, and Alex Claudio appear to be locks, leaving three spots up for grabs.
Dylan Bundy named opening day starter
While there is still uncertainty about the bullpen heading into opening day, there is rare clarity in the starting rotation. The Angels are dead set on a six-man rotation, with Dylan Bundy leading the way, as he’ll take the mound on April 1 against the Chicago White Sox.