The Los Angeles Angels have dealt with a battered outfield during the 2021 season. It started with Dexter Fowler tearing his ACL, then continued with prolonged injuries to Mike Trout and Justin Upton. Because of all the injuries to starters, fans were hoping for the Angels to turn to Jo Adell or top prospect Brandon Marsh, but the team made it very clear that neither were ready.
Marsh especially wasn’t ready as he was dealing with an injury of his own. The Angels second-round pick in 2016 has missed the last month of Minor League baseball due to shoulder inflammation. He made his long-awaited return to the Salt Lake Bees on Friday night — after a 7-for-14 week in the Arizona Complex League — batting leadoff as the team’s designated hitter.
Fans didn’t have to wait long for him to show his renewed health, as he took the third pitch of the night over the fence in left field. He later tripled and finished the night 2-for-5 with three RBI’s and three runs scored.
Marsh spoke about how it felt returning to Triple-A action and doing so in grand fashion, according to Sam Dykstra of MLB.com:
“I’m not trying to be a hero on the first day,” said MLB Pipeline’s No. 38 overall prospect. “This is me trying to stay true to myself, sitting middle-away and trying to get lucky. He threw it middle-away just while I was looking into that particular area, and I just did what I’ve always been taught to do, focus on going the other way.”
He also calmed any concern about the long-term health of his shoulder, saying the injury helped him to understand how he should take care of his body moving forward.
“It’s nothing special,” he said “It’s just a bunch of arm care and a bunch of arm care that I never would see myself doing. I’ve never had arm trouble. I say it’s a blessing and a curse because I was out for a little bit of time, but it was an eye opener for me for what I need to do for the rest of my career.
“I need to get in there early. I need to go get stretched. I need to do my arm care. I need to stretch on my own. To be honest, I never really did things like that before.”
It’s unlikely that Marsh receives a call to the Major Leagues this season, unless he shows significant improvement in the second half of the season. He slashed just .200/.342/.400 in the first half.
However, he and Adell remain a part of the team’s future plans in the outfield, with the right field spot up for grabs next season and Justin Upton nearing the end of his Angels contract.
Upton out through All-Star Break
While there was plenty of hope that Upton would be able to play in the Angels last few games before the All-Star break, things didn’t go as planned for Upton.
The Angels left fielder has been out since June 22 with a low back strain, and will remain out until after the break, something that was unexpected when Maddon first received his injury reports.