The Los Angeles Angels are expected to activate shortstop David Fletcher from the injured list sometime this weekend, possibly as soon as Friday when the club begins a three-game road series against the Chicago White Sox.
“I’m sure he can swing the bat well, he’s gonna field ground balls well, he’s gonna throw well, but how does he actually feel?” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ll make that evaluation in Chicago.”
Fletcher has been on the injured list since April 12 because of a strained left hip, an issue he had been dealing with since spring training. He struggled from the outset of the season, going 1-for-13 in the first five games before landing on the IL.
In Fletcher’s absence, the Angels have used primarily Andrew Velazquez at shortstop, with Tyler Wade also getting some time there. Velazquez has provided solid defense, but has struggled at the plate, batting .122 (5-for-41) with one double, two RBIs and five walks.
Despite those struggles, though, his defense has been so good that Maddon indicated he will remain at shortstop even when Fletcher returns. Fletcher will be worked back into the lineup slowly at second base, sharing time there with Wade, Jack Mayfield and Matt Duffy, though one of them likely would have to be moved off the roster to make room for Fletcher.
Maddon was asked if the success of the bench players was a factor in keeping Fletcher on the IL this long.
“That’s not the issue at all,” the manager said. “The issue is to make sure that he’s healthy and well and doesn’t have any setbacks during the year. He’s so valuable, he’s so good … we have similar guys now who are very good players, so to push him right now and re-injure himself would not be very smart.”
Right-hander Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 2.12 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season for the Angels on Friday, coming off a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles his last time out. He is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two career games (one start) vs. Chicago, having allowed one run (unearned) and five hits in 8 1/3 innings.
Right-hander Lucas Giolito (0-0, 1.13 ERA) will make his third start of the season for the White Sox. He is 2-0 with a 3.81 ERA in five career starts vs. the Angels.
The White Sox’s No. 1 starter should be able to get stretched out Friday after being limited due to an abdominal strain. He had to leave his Opening Day start at Detroit after four innings because of the injury, and he missed two turns in the rotation.
Giolito returned to the mound on Sunday in Minnesota. He lasted just four innings but still managed to strike out nine, yielding one run on four hits and three walks in a no-decision.
“I looked at it over and over and I think it was just one of those random things that can happen,” Giolito said of the injury. “As far as an adjustment mechanically that needs to be made, I don’t think it’s really something that needs to be pursued too hard. It’s just kind of one of those weird things. It’s unfortunate.”
–Field Level Media