Injuries have plagued the Los Angeles Angels yet again in 2023. Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, Logan O’Hoppe, Taylor Ward and several others have succumbed to long-term injuries. And now, utilityman Luis Rengifo can be added to the list.
Rengifo’s injury occurred in an unusual way during Thursday’s series opener against the Cleveland Guardians. Prior to taking his first at-bat, while still in the on-deck circle, Rengifo felt pain in his left bicep. He was immediately removed from the game and had imaging done. The result was something of a worst case scenario for a player in the midst of perhaps his best stretch as a pro.
Rengifo suffered a left bicep tendon rupture, landing him on the 10-day injured list and ending his 2023 season. Rengifo was quick in his evaluation of the injury, according to Adrian Garro of MLB.com:
“A little frustrated,” said Rengifo. “I want to be there and just play, but … it happens.”
Angels manager Phil Nevin went further in depth on the frustration surrounding Rengifo’s injury, not only for him specifically but due to his impact on the Angels.
“Yeah, it stinks,” said manager Phil Nevin of Rengifo’s abrupt finish. “I hate seeing it. He’s so important to this dugout, his energy and what he brings – and not just on the field. … It’s a pretty significant injury. The rehab process is pretty grueling. But if anybody can handle this and tackle this head on, it’s Luis.”
Injuries almost never come at a good time, but the torn bicep tendon comes at a particularly bad time for Rengifo. Since Aug. 23 (15 games), Rengifo had been slashing .446/.476/.804 with a 1.280 OPS. He had 25 hits in 15 games, nine of them for extra bases with five home runs.
He was untouchable at the plate and the result was a season OPS that will be his best in the Majors. His season slahs line of .264/.339/.444 with a .783 OPS all represent career bests, with his batting average tying last season. He hit 16 home runs, one shy of his career high of 17 set in 2022.
Rengifo was putting it all together, and now, he’ll have to sit and watch as he recovers from this injury. The Angels believe he’ll be fully recovered by mid-December and will be ready for Spring Training in 2024.
Taylor Ward has no hard feelings toward Alek Manoah
Ward is another Angels player waiting until next season to make his return to the diamond after taking a 92 mph pitch from Alek Manoah to the face. It was a scary injury, but one that doesn’t seem to have any lingering effects for Ward.
He especially carries no ill will toward Manoah, who reached out to Ward in the days following the injury.