After missing a bulk of last season, Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher steps back into the fold after general manager Perry Minasian added multiple veteran options to the infield mix.
A once pesky, but steady presence in the Angels lineup, Fletcher appeared in just 101 games last season, underwhelming in the games he did play in. Posting a .255/.288/.333 slash in 2022, he directly mirrored his performance from 2021 in terms of on-base plus slugging.
Brandon Drury, Gio Urshela and Luis Rengifo will provide versatility for manager Phil Nevin and how the team aligns the middle infield, but they lacked a true shortstop option without Fletcher during his absence. According to Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register, the 29-year-old entering his sixth season with the club aims to find his prior success this year:
“That’s my expectation,” said Fletcher, who is in the mix for everyday playing time at shortstop in 2022. “My expectation of myself is to hit around .300 and play good defense.”
Mainly, Fletcher has been just that, a for-average hitter, who the Angels have leaned on when a long at-bat is required. Missing over 100 games from a staple lineup guy was an issue for both the team and his standards:
“It was the first year I was really hurt a lot, had a major injury,” Fletcher said. “It sucked not being able to play, but it’s nice to come in this year healthy. Hopefully, that’s the only year that I’m injured.”
Angels manager Phil Nevin acknowledged Fletcher’s importance to the club and how where he’s at with his health following hip surgery to repair both his left and right adductor muscles:
“I think with health, he’s going to be a lot better,” Nevin said. “I think he’s back to where he was before. He’s stronger. There’s no doubt about that. He spent a lot of time this winter working on his body which, quite frankly, he may not have done as much so in the past and he hasn’t had to, but you get to certain points in your career where you got to make some changes in the offseason. I think he recognized that.”
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Fletcher sees significant time if the Angels value the positive defensive value he brings, but with the upside offensively with Drury and in spurts last year for Rengifo, there could be some wiggle room with making a change.
Anthony Rendon close to feeling 100% entering important year with Angels
Anthony Rendon misses much of the 2022 season for the Los Angeles Angels due to surgery to repair a subluxation of a tendon in his right wrist.
The veteran was limited to just 47 games and was mostly unproductive in those games. He was able to return at the end of the season to complete a five-game suspension and got a game in to help build some momentum heading into the offseason.
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