When the Los Angeles Angels lost David Fletcher to a hip injury earlier this season, there were questions about how the team would fill the void at shortstop.
The Angels ultimately turned to Andrew Velazquez, who had put up big numbers in Triple-A Salt Lake. The 27-year-old signed a Minor League contract with the organization this past offseason and is mostly known for his defense. Velazquez has went on to start 46 of the Angels’ 52 games at shortstop from the time he was recalled.
But starting that many games likely isn’t sustainable for long term success, and Angels interim manager Phil Nevin, who knows Velazquez from their time together with the New York Yankees, believes he will benefit from more days off, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
He plays a heck of a shortstop,” Nevin said. “Where I see him, and having had him over the last couple years, is he’s not used to playing every day, you know, and it’s different.
“Even in the minor leagues, you get your rest more often than not, and he’s gonna need his days [off]. That’s just the way the human body works. So he’s going to get them every once, probably a day or two more than you’ve seen.”
Velazquez has already set career-highs in both games played (51) and plate appearances (170), so it’s easy to see why Nevin wants to get his shortstop some extra days off his feet.
While Velazquez has provided Gold Glove-caliber defense at shortstop, he enters play Friday batting only .179/.231/.269 with five doubles, three home runs and 15 RBI. The former seventh-round draft pick is just 1-for-his-last-23 dating back to June 2.
Velazquez quickly became a favorite in Angels clubhouse
Since joining the Angels, Velazquez has quickly become a favorite in the clubhouse. As the team prepared for their cross-country flight to New York, several players dressed like a squid in homage to Velazquez’s nickname.
Other teammates distributed T-shirts with a cartoon squid on the front and five baseball gloves on its arms.