The Los Angeles Angels were hit with the injury bug in a big way to begin the 2021 season. First, Dexter Fowler was lost for the season to a torn ACL. Then, Anthony Rendon, Juan Lagares, and Max Stassi were placed on the 10-day Injured List for various reasons. Lastly, Shohei Ohtani — who has served as the team’s regular designated hitter — has not pitched in two weeks because of a blister.
As the early part of the season continues, we are beginning to get some clarity on the status of all of the injured Angels players, including Felix Pena, who began the season on the IL. While there are no set dates for anyone’s return, it appears the Angels could be a short while away from being fully healthy once again.
Ohtani’s return to the mound is imminent after another successful bullpen session, but Joe Maddon does plan to have a long reliever ready to go behind him just in case, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I heard it was really good,” Maddon said. “He came inside to get his finger checked and Adam thought it looked really good. So we’ll make our plans tomorrow. If he walks in and still feels groovy, we’ll make our plans at that point.”
Maddon said they plan to have a long reliever ready behind Ohtani when he starts just in case he experiences any setbacks with his blister. But Maddon added that it’s too early to determine who that’ll be just yet, as he’ll continue to monitor the workload of his relievers in the coming days.
As for a different Angels star — Rendon — who is eligible to be activated off the IL on Wednesday, Maddon is unsure whether or not he’ll be ready by that day.
“I’ve watched him go through his work and he’s feeling better and feeling well,” Maddon said. “It’s one of those things where Adam and the medical staff don’t want any reoccurrence. But he’s doing fine. He’s very upbeat and very positive. By the beginning of the week, we should have a much better idea of the finish line by like Monday or Tuesday.”
As for the three other injured Angels, Lagares appears to be the closest to a return. He’s eligible to be activated on Wednesday, and has already progressed to batting practice and light running without issue. Returning Wednesday would give the Angels a full four-man outfield once again.
Pena is eligible to be activated already, but Maddon is waiting for the right time to do so. Pena is out of minor league options, meaning he must be called up to the active roster once he’s activated. Maddon wants him to be perfectly healthy without issues before making that move.
Lastly, Stassi is still a ways away from his return. He is not eligible to be activated until Friday, but he has not done any catching yet. The only good news on his front is that he has begun throwing, meaning his thumb is progressing well.
Angels-Twins series postponed due to COVID outbreak
The Minnesota Twins — after several positive COVID-19 tests within their organization — had to have the remainder of their series with the Angels postponed. This means two games will be rescheduled for a later date, and the Halos won’t take the field again until Monday when they face the Texas Rangers.