When Jo Adell crashed into the outfield wall in Houston over a week ago, Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon did not think he was going to need more than a couple days off. He missed two games due to soreness, but then was placed on the 10-day IL with a left abdominal strain.
Very quickly, Maddon’s tone changed. He went from assuming Adell wouldn’t need time away to essentially saying his season is over. Nothing has been made official on that front yet, but the lack of time remaining in the season suggests that Adell likely won’t be returning.
Adell is still hopeful, however, as he said he’s already feeling better than he did in the days following the injury, according to Jack Harris of The L.A. Times:
“[There’s] a lot of soreness,” Adell said, noting that even laughing or sneezing caused him pain. “But things are starting to feel better. I’m starting to work on the right stuff. So hopefully, it’ll clear up.”
If he’s unable to play again this season — which feels like the more reasonable outcome — Adell is still proud of the strides he made in 2021.
“I think I’m most proud of the way I approached the game,” Adell said. “When I came back, I got into more of a [mindset of], ‘Go win a game. Be a factor. Find a way to make something happen at any opportunity.’ The change in mindset to that really elevated my play. I started to show parts of my game that not a lot of people knew about beforehand.”
Now, the Angels have some decisions to make surrounding Adell. Going into next season, they have just two veterans under contract, Mike Trout and Justin Upton. They’ll also have Brandon Marsh. Of those four names, only Trout has a guaranteed everyday starting role in 2022.
Between Marsh, Adell, and Upton, the Angels will need to figure out two starters and one platoon player. Right now, the answer seems obvious: start Adell and Marsh, only playing Upton against good pitching matchups.
However, Maddon and the Angels brass have to decide if starting two players that are essentially rookies is the best strategy for a team hoping to make the leap to playoff contention. It’s a hard question, and it’s one that may not even be answered before the start of next year.
For Adell, it would be nice to see a few more games out of him this season. It just remains more likely that we don’t see him again until 2022.
Upton out for season
There remains a sliver of hope for Adell’s return. However, the same cannot be said for Upton, as his lingering back injury is going to sideline him for the remainder of the season.
It was another disappointing year for Upton, who has one year remaining on the five-year, $106 million contract he signed with the Angels in 2017.