Angels News: Robert Stephenson To Miss 2024 Season With Elbow Injury
MLB: Los Angeles Angels-Media Day
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels announced on Wednesday night after a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays that right-handed reliever Robert Stephenson will miss the entire 2024 season due to an elbow injury that will require surgery. The team did not give details as to the exact injury or surgery Stephenson is undergoing.

Stephenson missed all of Spring Training with shoulder inflammation and discomfort, but it was believed his absence during the regular season would not be long. He had been ramping up toward a return, facing live batters in Anaheim before going out on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake.

There, he managed only four pitches — a walk — before asking trainers to be removed from the game. But when he got off the field, he complained of elbow issues, not shoulder. Testing revealed some type of issue that needed to be surgically repaired, and now Stephenson’s first season with the Angels has come to an end before he ever took the field in a Halos uniform.

This is a massive loss for the Angels. Stephenson was their marquee free agent signing in the offseason, giving him a three-year, $39 million contract. One of those three years is now completely lost, leaving Matt Moore to be the Angels’ primary set-up man behind closer Carlos Estévez.

The Angels prepared for this with Stephenson, giving him a unique contract clause that if an elbow injury at any point in the three years caused him to be on the injured list for at least 130 consecutive days, it triggers a $2.5 million team option on a fourth year of the contract.

This means that if Stephenson comes back and performs extremely well, the Angels can get a fourth year out of him for $2.5 million. The best part of this is that they don’t have to decide until the 2026 season — his third year — comes to an end.

Angels go for series win in Tampa

The Angels took two of the first three against the Rays in Tampa, meaning they have at least secured a series draw in the four-game set. But they can go for the win in an early afternoon affair to get back above .500 on the season. A win would put them at 10-9 on the year.

In the finale, the Angels have the struggling Griffin Canning on the mound facing off against Ryan Pepiot, who the Rays acquired from the L.A. Dodgers in an offseason trade that sent Tyler Glasnow to Southern California.

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