Angels News: Griffin Canning Met With Back Specialist
Griffin Canning, Jose Iglesias, Joe Maddon, Kurt Suzuki, 2021 Season
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have been waiting to see how Griffin Canning responded following a simulated game in early May that raised some red flags and he was shut down for the time being.

Last season, Canning was demoted to Triple-A where he suffered a stress reaction in his lower back but has yet to really come close to game-action after his recovery has been a bit of a rollercoaster. He said in late April that his body was feeling as good as he’s felt in ‘years’.

Because Canning didn’t respond the way the Angels would have liked following the sim game, he went to have the status of his back reexamined. Additionally, the club is letting the young pitcher decide what his next course of action will be, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:

Angels pitcher Griffin Canning will visit a back specialist Monday and then determine whether to have surgery that might sideline him for the rest of the season or take a more conservative rehabilitation route that would improve his chances of returning this year.

“We’re leaving it up to the player,” head athletic trainer Mike Frostad said before the Angels’ game Saturday night against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium. “We’re going to support him in whatever decision he makes.”

In 2020, Canning had his best season in MLB, posting a 3.99 ERA, but regressed in 2021 going 5-4 in 13 starts and 14 total appearances with an ERA of 5.60, a WHIP of 1.484, an ERA+ of 80. He also allowed 65 hits and 14 home runs in just 62.2 innings.

But the Angels have enjoyed a relative amount of success from their starting pitching this season, and even though Canning would be a solid depth addition to the staff, manager Joe Maddon understands the young right-hander has much more to look forward to than to rush back from a back injury.

“You’re talking about a young guy with a great career, potentially, ahead of him,” manager Joe Maddon said. “And having to be faced with this kind of a decision, at this time in your life and your career, it’s not easy.

“This is what he’s always wanted to do, be a major league baseball player. He came from a great [college] program, and he’s had success here. I just want to show support for him. We’re looking for a good outcome.”

The Angels currently rank 5th in MLB with an ERA of 3.37 and share the No. 1 spot with the Los Angeles Dodgers with a .213 batting average allowed.

Maddon considering 5-man rotation

The Angels are among several teams who have used a six-man starting rotation this season, beginning the year with a staff of Noah Syndergaard, Shohei Ohtani, Reid Detmers, Michael Lorenzen, Patrick Sandoval and José Suarez.

Suarez was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake and replaced by Jhonathan Diaz, who threw five shutout innings against the Washington Nationals before being sent back down to the Angels’ top Minor League affiliate himself.

The transactions meant the Angels only had five starters, and Maddon revealed that could become permanent at some point this season.

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