Luke Bard was optioned by the Angels to the alternate training site in Long Beach to make roster room for Patrick Sandoval, who was recalled to start Saturday against the Rangers at Globe Life Field in Texas.
Bard pitched a scoreless inning in his only appearance this season, but hasn’t pitched since July 29. The right-hander had a 4.78 ERA in 32 games with the Angels in 2019, including three opener starts. Bard last year struck out 40 and walked 13 in 49 innings.
Sandoval started the Angels’ home opener on July 28, allowing a run in four innings, but was optioned the next day for extra bullpen help. Manager Joe Maddon said the primary goal was to get Sandoval stretched out while in Long Beach, and said he’d likely be good to throw between 75 and 85 pitches in Saturday’s start.
“With him it’s always going to be about early-count command and getting ahead of hitters. Those are the kind of things that are really going to catapult him,” manager Joe Maddon said on a conference call Saturday. “Big fan of his stuff and the makeup. We’ve just got to get more consistent delivery, and the ball in the strike zone.”
Non-Ohtani Angels starters have a 3.17 ERA this season, with 63 strikeouts and 23 walks in 59⅔ innings.
It’s a big day for left-handed 2015 draftees from Orange County on the mound. In addition to Sandoval from Mission Viejo High School, the Rangers are starting San Clemente High’s Kolby Allard, the Braves’ first-round pick that year who was traded to Texas at the 2019 trade deadline for reliever Chris Martin.
Allard, like Sandoval, also allowed one run in four innings in his only start so far this season. This is the 12th major league start for Allard, who turns 23 next Thursday. The 23-year-old Sandoval is making his 11th major league start.
Against the lefty Allard, the Angels stacked their lineup with right-handed hitters, including Jo Adell in right field returning after dealing with quad tightness the last two days. Taylor Ward starts in left field, giving the Halos seven right-handed bats in the lineup plus designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and switch-hitter Luis Rengifo at second base.