There’s a bit of talk around the Los Angeles Angels’ spring camp about the solid depth in their crop of starting pitchers, albeit only a few are in the upper echelon, but the battle for the backend remains extremely competitive.
With a rotation with Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval and Tyler Anderson as the club’s frontmen, manager Phil Nevin has more than enough options in Reid Detmers, José Suarez, Tucker Davidson, Sam Bachman, Chase Silseth and Jaime Barría to fill out the following three spots.
And after nearly two full years being away from game action, the long-awaited return of Griffin Canning in Spring Training puts him in the mix.
A stress fracture in his back sustained in early July of the 2021 season put his career on ice after just three years. He made his spring debut against the Cleveland Guardians on Monday, tossing two scoreless innings including a pair of strikeouts with two hits allowed.
Canning’s return to Major League Baseball against big league talent was a breath of fresh air for the 26-year-old, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“It had been almost two years since I’d been in a game, so really, it was just about getting out there and getting comfortable on the mound and getting into a game setting,” Canning said. “I felt good. I wasn’t as sharp was I wanted to be with a few pitches, but it was more about getting out there and getting comfortable.”
His own self-critique is telling of how high of a standard he expects from himself and the Angels should be excited about what they saw in Canning from his first outing back. He’ll certainly compete with Tucker Davidson, Silseth, Chris Rodriguez and Jaime Barría for starts, otherwise, he’ll begin the 2023 season with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees.
Canning showed a lot of promising upside before his injury, and if he can get back on track, it would be a welcome addition to the Angels pitching staff.
Angels starter Sam Bachman finding pre-injury form
Included in the list of young starting pitchers who figure to help the Angels rotation in the immediate future is Sam Bachman, a young power arm who early on in his big league career has dealt with multiple injuries.
But after a positive offseason, the 23-year-old is prepared to take another step forward.
Drafted in the first round of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft out of Miami (OH), Bachman joined the Angels for big league Spring Training, tossing a flawless inning in his debut on Feb. 26.
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