Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrew Velazquez had recently stumbled onto a breakthrough that had the potential to change his trajectory as a batter. Velazquez dropped being a switch hitter, focusing solely on hitting from the right side.
He had seen immediate success since making that change, and there was hope that it would provide him a future with the Angels. Unfortunately, he won’t have the rest of the 2022 season to prove that his recent spike in production is permanent.
On Tuesday, Velazquez was removed from the Angels 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Guardians after hurting his knee. An MRI revealed a torn meniscus, requiring surgery. The recovery timeline is 6-8 weeks, meaning Velazquez will miss the remainder of the 2022 season.
The defense-first shortstop spoke about the difficulties of having an injury like this happen at this time, but attempted to focus on the positive, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Not closing out the season healthy is frustrating,” Velazquez said Wednesday morning. “It’s something to work on. I have a full offseason of preparation. I’ll take this season into account and know what I’ve got to work on.”
“There’s a lot worse knee injuries,” Velazquez said. “That’s the most simple one.”
2023 is Velazquez’s final pre-arbitration year, meaning the Angels have complete control as to whether or not he returns to the organization. Given what he showed with his glove and his legs, there’s no reason not to bring him back, unless the team shells out big money for a free agent shortstop.
As for the 2022 roster, Michael Stefanic was recalled to take Velazquez’s place. He arrived with the team just before the start of Wednesday’s series finale against the Guardians. Stefanic hit .167 with a .461 OPS in his first MLB stint this season, but was raking in Triple-A, batting .303 with a .909 OPS.
Mike Trout loses home run streak
Had Mike Trout hit a home run on Tuesday evening against the Guardians, he would have tied the AL/NL record for consecutive games with a home run. Instead, Trout went 0-3 with two flyouts and a walk, ending his streak at seven games.
Trout admitted after the game that he was trying to hit a home run by the end, and that he’ll simply need to start a new streak now.