The Los Angeles Angels made a wide array of roster cuts after Wednesday’s game, sending 15 players to minor league camp. Most notable among them is Luis Rengifo, who was optioned. That could potentially open the door for non-roster invitee José Rojas to make the club as a utility man.
Additionally, the following players have been reassigned: LHP Reid Detmers, RHP Jake Faria, RHP Packy Naughton, LHP Thomas Pannone, RHP Jake Reed, INF Phil Gosselin, INF Kean Wong, LHP Dillon Peters, RHP Ben Rowen, C Anthony Mulrine, RHP Zac Kristofak & RHP Austin Warren.— Angels PR (@LAAngelsPR) March 25, 2021
The Angels drafted Rojas in the 36th round in 2016 out of Vanguard University, and he hit .293/.362/.577 with 31 home runs for Triple-A Salt Lake in 2019. The Anaheim High School grad is hitting .321/.487/.607 in 39 plate appearances this spring.
The challenge has been finding Rojas a position. He’s played first base, third base, and left field this spring, but eight of his 11 games have been at second base.
“His bat plays,” Maddon said. “It’s played for a long time. Where you were drafted can sometimes be impactful in a negative way. But there’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to hit. Now, it’s about defense. He’s better than I think he’s given credit for in the past. We’ve tried him out at second and I’ve been pretty satisfied.”
Rojas is a non-roster invitee, so the Angels would have to make a corresponding roster move to add him to the 40-man roster. But with Rengifo getting optioned and Franklin Barreto out 4-6 weeks with elbow inflammation, the chances for Rojas seem a lot better today than they did last week.