The Los Angeles Angels recently shuffled around some pieces at the backend of their rotation due to to injury and as a result, their depth has been put to use.
One young arm in particular that flashed some incredible upside is Chris Rodriguez, who the Angels have yet to see this season and have been without since last season.
In August, Rodriguez was recalled to the Major Leagues when the team was desperate for innings out of their starters. After pitching 10 innings over two starts and allowing just four earned runs on 10 hits with four walks while striking out nine, the right-hander went down with an injury again.
Rodriguez hasn’t appeared in a game since August 10, but according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register, he is slowly on his way back:
He is throwing at a distance of 90 feet now. Still has a long way to go. The Angels are hoping he'll be able to pitch this season, but it's too soon to know. https://t.co/FWrwaeW77u
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) April 11, 2022
Prior to his season-ending injury, Rodriguez also spent two months on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. The right-hander was used as both a starter and a reliever last year, posting a 3.64 ERA in 29 2/3 innings.
Talent does not escape the 23-year-old, and when healthy, he is an arm that opposing teams have to take note of. Rodriguez possesses all of the talent and physical traits to be a successful starter in MLB, but he needs to stay on the field.
There Angels will be cautious with their young pitcher to make sure he is fully ready to go before he returns to the club.
Syndergaard making strides with new team
Like Rodriguez, Noah Syndergaard is an arm that showed incredible talent early in his career but struggled with injuries. Although they didn’t share the same big moments or statistics, the plan for Rodriguez should mirror Syndergaard’s by making sure he is fully ready to pitch before he returns.
Syndergaard made his Angels debut against the Houston Astros on April 9 and tossed 5.1 innings of scoreless baseball, only allowing two hits while striking out just one batter.
His recovery from Tommy John surgery was lengthy, which saw him lose two seasons of his prime after being one of the most dominant pitchers of the latter half of the 2010s. From 2015-18, Syndergaard had a 2.93 ERA while averaging nearly 130 innings per season and six innings per start.
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