If, by some strange, inexplicable reason, you are the type of Angels fan who loves weekend injury news and updates, with those pertaining to the most importance and consequence being your figurative cherry on top, then you’ve experienced a windfall this weekend the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the sadistic 2016 season.
There have been plenty moves and news this weekend, enough to make my head spin, although my fear is not that I’m possessed by Pazuzu (or at the very least, William Friedkin’s special effects team). In fact, it’s worse. My head is spinning at dizzying degree at the pitching injury situation that’s now fallen down on the Angels, no longer just something to confidently shrug at in organization-planted positivity, or to think the best simply because IT’S EARLY.
No, I think I no longer contain any chill, whatsoever, nope.
Why am I worried?
The training staff, or the front office injury obfuscation team, or maybe the entire organization just can’t be trusted about injuries right now. We saw Garrett Richards, who made much ballyhoo when he avoided Tommy John this offseason in lieu of stem cell therapy, go five innings and never pitch again.
We were told it was nothing to worry about, even though the freakout machine had already been fired up. The Angels told us he would miss a start, and they’d put him on the 10-day DL. If you still had any shred of trust, even though we’d heard this same nothingburger posturing last year for both Richards and fellow Tommy John friend Andrew Heaney, then you said “He’s fine, it’s just some bicep irritation.”
Well, Richards is now on the 60-day DL, guys. There went whatever was left of my chill, if anybody asks:
Medical update on Garrett Richards pic.twitter.com/zC7GpVaTrn— Angels PR (@LAAngelsPR) April 22, 2017
Apparently, according to a Jeff Fletcher piece in the OC Register, Richards hit a snag in his recovery, which wasn’t supposed to be a big deal anyway, right?!
However, “his most recent assessment and exam showed mild improvement in biceps strength and also irritation of the cutaneous nerve, which is contributing to his strength deficit,” the Angels said Saturday in a statement while announcing Richards’ move to the 60-day DL.
So, what else? Well, Cam Bedrosian, our newly-crowned closer who had been doing exactly what we’d hoped he’d do this year, is now doing what we had hoped he wouldn’t do this year: He’s hitting the DL. The 10-day DL, to be exact, due to a groin strain. Well, aint great!??! In case you didn’t know, I’m being facetious there.
This was really just the kicking off of a slew of other moves. Of course, Alex Meyer had been called up to start on Friday, sending Mike Morin down to the 10-day DL, as well. But since yesterday we saw:
-Kirby Yates and Daniel Wright were called up
-Kirby Yates was sent down
-Ryan Lamarre was traded to Oakland for cash considerations
-Brooks Pounders called up
-Luis Valbuena was sent to Inland Empire (he’ll have 5 or so rehab games. Man, do we need THIS guy to come into the roster hot.)
#Angels Luis Valbuena will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow. Will be 5-7 games. When he comes back, he'll play mostly 1B but some 3B, vs RH— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) April 23, 2017
Now, Lamarre is of now concern to me nor is the sending down of Kirby Yates worth my mind’s preoccupation. Brooks Pounders getting a shot is kind of interesting, we knew he’d get a look eventually.
Luis Valbuena, however, was meant to be a crucial cog in this Billy Eppler-built Run Scoring/Preventing machine, and we’ll finally have that cog in place, so perhaps there will be less gaskets blown or times when the run production line has to be shut down for repairs. Of course, he’ll have to be utilized correctly in the first place, so let’s hope Mike Scioscia enjoys what Valbuena brings.
The Richards news still concerns me; he was in the fifth inning of his first game, and that was the last we’ve seen of him, and now that injury that was of no concern, that an MRI had cleared, as well, is putting him on the shelf awhile longer. Talk about important pieces of a machine, gone missing, causing problems.
Now, Cam Bedrosian, too. If these injuries are what the Halos staff is saying they are, then we’ve got nothing to worry about. But, as I hinted originally, and as did many on this site, we’ve heard innocuous explanations and had other worries hand-waved off by the doctors, beat writers and/or a Red Polo Troopers before, and they’ve gone on to be earthquakes for the team and their fans.
Is it happening again? Should Garrett Richards have had TJ surgery after all? Will this grow into a legit, saddening season of talent never realized, all due to injuries, foreseen and otherwise?
I speak only for myself...but I’m officially worried about Garrett Richards. Hopefully, Bedrosian won’t be next. Hopefully, Valbuena can deliver.
That’s a lot of hopin’, and it’s only April 23rd.