The Los Angeles Angels were dealt another blow to their bullpen with news that left-handed reliever Aaron Loup will miss some time.
Entering play on Saturday, the Angels currently have the third-best bullpen in all of Major League Baseball with a collective 2.85 ERA. Their 123.1 innings rank sixth in MLB, which also draws some red flags because of their heightened usage.
Manager Phil Nevin had to shuffle around some pieces with José Quijada and Austin Warren both out for the rest of 2023 after learning they both require Tommy John surgery.
On Friday however, the Angels opted to place Loup on the injured list after feeling something in his hamstring, via Doug Padilla of the O.C. Register:
“It’s more on the cautious side, but I don’t think it’s much of a big deal,” Loup said. “But we’re kind of not in a situation where I can take three, four days to kind of get it right with where the bullpen is right now. So it’s probably better off to take the IL stint so we can have a full pen for these big divisional games against the Rangers and Astros.”
Loup has largely struggled this season, posting a 7.00 ERA, 3.91 FIP and a 10.2% walk rate over nine innings pitched. The veteran was signed by the Angels prior to 2022 and is in the midst of his worst stretch with the club.
This time off could be a minor blessing in disguise for Loup, to both rehab his injury and take some time to work with the Angels staff to figure out how to get back to his best self:
“Injuries are never good, obviously, but it might give him a chance to step back and look at whether (his struggles) are machinal, physical,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “But he will be the first to admit that he hasn’t pitched as well as he can, as well as he’s capable of.
“I have to be honest with you, I know the numbers, I know he’s had some ups and downs but I remember this guy as really, really good and it hasn’t been that long ago.”
The Angels capitalized on a career year from Loup after the 2021 season in which he carried a 0.95 ERA in 56.2 innings with the New York Mets. After being a mid-tier arm last season, if he were to regain a bit of his top form, Nevin would have another ultra-reliable option.
Angels recall reliever Andrew Wantz
The corresponding move for Loup hitting the IL is the club recalling Andrew Wantz after spending a few days with the Salt Lake Bees in Triple-A. The righty has been the shuttle man for general manager Perry Minasian given his contract status and remaining Minor League options.
From an ERA standpoint, Wantz has been very good, but when put in a position where he’s inheriting runners, he’s allowed nine of 12 to score.
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