The Los Angeles Angels have been plagued by injuries for most of the 2021 season, but that especially rings true now as four starting pitchers are currently sidelined due to various ailments.
The group includes Patrick Sandoval, who had been in the midst of a breakout year before sustaining a stress fracture in his back. He was placed on the 10-day injured list earlier this month with what the club initially classified as a lumbar spine stress reaction.
Now that the severity of the injury is known, Sandoval unfortunately will not pitch again this season. A silver lining is that the stress fracture will not require surgery, and he should be fully recovered by the start of Spring Training next year.
Angels general Perry Minasian is disappointed that Sandoval won’t get an opportunity to return to the mound but is looking forward to him being a major contributor going forward, per Dan Woike of the L.A. Times:
“He has had an outstanding year, something to build off of. He’s worked really hard,” Minasian said. “Obviously disappointing that he’s not in the rotation and not going to finish the year, but with that being said, he made huge strides. We’re excited what the future holds for him.”
Sandoval’s injury is similar to the one that ended Griffin Canning’s season in July. The two throw together in the offseason, and now Minasian and the Angels training staff will re-evaulate whether changes need to be made to their programs:
“We’re going back through our process, what they did in the offseason, what they did in-season just to see if there’s something that needs to change,” he said.
While it’s disappointing Sandoval won’t have a chance to close out the 2021 season on his own terms, the Angels can take solace in the fact that he should be a building block in the rotation for years to come.
In 17 games (14 starts), Sandoval went 3-6 with a career-best 3.62 ERA, 4.03 FIP and 1.21 WHIP over 87 innings pitched. Sandoval finished just two outs shy of a no-hitter earlier this season. He also struck out 94 batters against 36 walks and cut down on the home run ball, which had been a problem for him in each of his first two MLB seasons.
Maddon trying to make ‘adaptions’ on fly with shorthanded Angels rotation
With several key starters unavailable, Angels manager Joe Maddon is trying to piece together a coherent rotation for the team’s current homestand. That led to Cooper Criswell making his MLB debut against the San Diego Padres, and although he failed to get out of the second inning, he will always look back at the day in a positive light.