The Los Angeles Angels sit in the middle of the pack in the American League West through their first handful of games and are slated to get another look at a right-hander trying to make his way back to Major League Baseball.
Griffin Canning was drafted in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of UCLA, making his big league debut just two years later. Joining the Angels for parts of three seasons, his contributions to the staff weren’t great in plain statistics, but for a young arm, he showed a solid amount of promise for the future.
After missing nearly two years after suffering a stress fracture in his back during the 2021 season, Canning is locked in to make his first start in over 600 days when he takes the mound against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. According to Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register, Canning changed how he took care of his body in order to aid the process:
He started doing Pilates and found the right routine to maintain his back.
“I just feel like I know myself a little bit better,” Canning said. “I know my body. I know if I am feeling something in certain areas, I kind of know how to get myself back on track and my recovery methods and stuff like that.”
The Angels split the first two games with the Nationals, and with a chance to take the series, Canning expressed his joy to throw a pitch on a big league mound:
“Obviously I’m excited,” Canning said on Tuesday. “I’m just looking forward to getting back out there and competing and helping the team win any way I can.”
In 13.2 innings during Spring Training, Canning flashed strikeout stuff with 13 punchouts in his four starts, allowing just two earned runs and three walks. Many around the Angels roster including Patrick Sandoval took note of his solid showing and a peak into what he has in his bag:
“Seeing him in spring, that was Griff right there,” Sandoval said. “Nasty. Insane stuff with everything. Just a really (expletive) good pitcher. It’s really exciting. I’m really excited for him, because of all the work that he’s put in come to life.”
The Angels will need every bit of depth they have in their organization to navigate their way through a full schedule if they intend on competing. But a big factor is finding out who the top slab consists of, and with a positive outing Wednesday Canning could find himself directly in the mix.
Plans for Griffin Canning in return to Angels
Although the Angels are likely to be cautious with the right-hander and not push him as much as they can, there will be no restrictions on him during the game:
Manager Phil Nevin said there will be no special pitch limitations on Canning.
“I wouldn’t say 100 is out of reach,” Nevin said. “It just depends how the game goes.”
Anything Canning can give them would be a positive, and it’s arguably more important for him to just get his comfort back on the mound. The Angels will hope to have him for the rest of the season, so there is just no reason to get everything out of him they can.
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