The Angels haven’t had a fully healthy team in quite some time, but they’re hoping May will be the month that the Halos will start getting all of their key players back. Despite the consistent disappointing starting pitching performances in the first 19 games of 2019, there is some good news on the horizon with regards to the team’s injuries.
As mentioned previously on Los Angeles Sports Nation, Tyler Skaggs is expected to only miss one start causing Jaime Barria to be sent back to AAA, since Chris Stratton is out of minor league options. However, there are more positive developments happening:
RH-RP/SP JC Ramirez
Since he had Tommy John surgery last April 17, it is now at the point that he is scheduled to face live hitters in the early part of May, according to GM Billy Eppler. Ramirez will be stretched out to at least 60 pitches, and he could come back as either a starter or a reliever. Since Ramirez is out of options, once he’s healthy, he’ll have to join the 25-man roster. If Stratton continues to disappoint, he will likely be put on waivers once Ramirez returns.
RH-RP Keynan Middleton
He’s slightly behind Ramirez in his rehab from Tommy John surgery on May 22 and he’ll start facing hitters in mid-May. The good news is that despite him being slightly behind Ramirez in the Tommy John recovery process, he won’t need as much time to get ready to return since he’ll solely be used as a reliever. Having Middleton back could put heat on Cody Allen to perform since Middleton has the makings of a closer.
LH/SP Andrew Heaney
He’s on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, but recently played catch up to 110 feet at Angel Stadium. Heaney is expected to get back on a mound in the next 10-12 days according to Eppler. The Angels need Heaney and Skaggs to both be healthy to give the chance for the bullpen to not be overworked.
LF Justin Upton
Originally on the injured list for a projected 8-12 weeks due to left turf toe that happened in spring training, he’s scheduled to have his walking boot removed in roughly a week. He’s still not expected to return until late May at the earliest, with a return in June more likely. Brian Goodwin has been a pleasant surprise while Upton has been on the injured list.
DH Shohei Ohtani
He’s recovering from Tommy John surgery that he received in September of last season. Even though he won’t be pitching in 2019, he will start hitting live pitching next week. He should be able to make it back in the lineup by early May.
SP Nick Tropeano
He has been recovering from a setback with his right shoulder this offseason. Recently he threw three innings and 45 pitches in an extended spring training game in Arizona on Tuesday. Tropeano will continue to build up his pitch count and once he’s healthy, he’ll likely be optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake to give the Angels starting pitching depth.
OF Michael Hermosillo
He’s been recovering from offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia and is scheduled to begin baseball activity in about two weeks. He should be the Angels backup outfielder over Peter Bourjos if he returns in May.
The Angels need some good luck in their favor for a change. It’s still mind-boggling that the Halos have five players on the injured list that have had Tommy John surgery in the past. Since the Angels don’t need any more disheartening news when it comes to injuries, let’s look at the best case scenario of the healing process:
- Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney both fully recover and pitch well in May.
- Shohei Ohtani gets back in May giving less at-bats to Albert Pujols and Justin Bour.
- Keynan Middleton makes it back by the end of May adding a significant boost to the bullpen.
- Justin Upton is back in late May causing Peter Bourjos to have less playing time.
- Michael Hermosillo comes back with Upton causing Bourjos to be expendable.
If these things can all come together, the Halos will be a playoff contender by the end of the season. Unfortunately, there are so many factors that need to come together, and the Angels can only hope that half of them could work in their favor in order to give the team a fighting chance in the American League West division.
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