The Los Angeles Angels made a focused effort this past offseason to shore up their pitching staff with the addition of veteran reliever Archie Bradley and other key additions, and they are also expecting the return of Griffin Canning after injuries halted his 2021 season.
Canning was demoted to Triple-A late in the year where he suffered a season-ending stress reaction in his lower back. But when healthy, he should provide another option in either the bullpen or starting rotation for manager Joe Maddon.
Bradley was signed to a one-year $3.75 million contract but had a rocky start to the season after allowing seven runs in just 5.2 innings pitched.
According to J.P. Hoornstra of the O.C. Register, head athletic trainer Mike Frostad said Canning will be a work in progress following a recent simulated game:
Frostad said Griffin Canning was “a bit more sore than we had hoped” one day after facing live hitters in a two-inning simulated game at Angel Stadium. The right-hander might have his next simulated outing, originally scheduled for Saturday, pushed back depending on how he felt Wednesday.
In Wednesday’s extra-inning loss to the Rays, Maddon was forced to use closer Raisel Iglesias in the 9th inning to give his club the best chance to keep the game tied for the bottom half, but in the 10th, he went to Aaron Loup.
Loup ended up allowing a leadoff double and a single one batter later. Given Bradley’s experience in high-leverage situations, his recovery and availability going forward will be crucial after turning in three straight scoreless outings prior to his injury:
Relief pitcher Archie Bradley (left abdominal strain) will play catch Wednesday from 90 feet, Frostad said.
José Quijada was placed on the 10-day injured list on April 8 against the Houston Astros after facing just one hitter on Opening Day, and was sat down after feeling his oblique throw up a red flag while warming up the next night. Quijada has been limited in recent weeks, but should begin to ramp up to game shape pretty soon:
Jose Quijada (right oblique strain) is expected to throw off a mound for the first time “within the next couple days,” Frostad said.
Canning has previously said that his body has felt as good as ever and he expects to perform when given the green light this season, but understandably so after being hindered by a back strain since last year, he should be given some leeway on his status.
Taylor Ward’s Wednesday heroics
Shohei Ohtani turned in six innings of one-run baseball that included five strikeouts, but Shane McClanahan was flat-out dominant for the Rays. He exited Wednesday’s game with a 2-0 lead after seven shutout innings highlighted by 11 punchouts.
But with one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the eighth, manager Joe Maddon called Andrew Velazquez back to the dugout and pinch-hit Taylor Ward to face Andrew Kittredge. It proved to be another correct move for Maddon, as Ward sent a two-strike sinker into the left-field seats to tie the game.
It was the Angels’ first game-tying pinch-hit home run since Kendrys Morales’ two-run home run against the Kansas City Royals on Sept. 14, 2012.