The Los Angeles Angels will face the Texas Rangers on Friday night in Anaheim, Calif., happy to finally have some good news when it comes to injuries.
With key players such as Anthony Rendon (wrist) out for the year and Mike Trout (back and rib cage) out indefinitely, the Angels welcomed infielder David Fletcher back to the lineup in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the Rangers.
Out since May 7 with a hip injury that required surgery, Fletcher hit the first pitch he saw in his return Thursday into left field and legged out a double.
While Fletcher doesn’t provide the pop that Rendon and Trout do, the Angels certainly have missed the spark Fletcher brings at the top of the lineup or in the No. 9 spot. He works counts, puts the ball in play and is a good situational hitter.
Fletcher got the start at second base Thursday but also will get time at shortstop. Last year he played in 157 games, hit .262 with 74 runs scored 47 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
“He’s big in the clubhouse, for one,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “Everyone loves him. Everyone feeds off his energy. Nice to have him back out there.”
Left-hander Patrick Sandoval (3-6, 3.64 ERA) will be on the mound for Los Angeles on Friday to make his 17th start of the season. He’s winless since May 22, going 0-5 with four no-decisions in his last nine starts.
This month has been particularly bad for Sandoval, who is 0-4 with a 7.11 ERA in four starts. He is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in four career games (three starts) against the Rangers.
Rangers shortstop Corey Seager’s status for Friday’s game is questionable. He had to leave Thursday’s game after the fifth inning after fouling a ball off his right calf.
Left-hander Martin Perez (8-2, 2.59) will be on the mound for Texas in his 20th start of the year. His season has progressed in direct contrast to that of Sandoval — Perez hasn’t lost a decision since April, going 8-0 in 15 starts in May, June and July.
He was named an All-Star for the first time in his 11-year career earlier this month.
It’s his second stint in Texas after he played his first seven seasons for the Rangers before playing one year in Minnesota and two in Boston.
He sees himself as a completely different pitcher — and person — in his second time around with the Rangers.
“I’ve been through a lot of things in my personal life, and I think no matter what, you have to be better every day,” Perez said. “That’s what I’m looking for every day, just trying to be a better person, dad and friend. I think it was time for me to show up and learn from those years and strive to be a good person (to) my teammates. It’s not easy, but when you love this game, it’s your duty.”
Perez is 7-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 21 career games (17 starts) against the Angels.
–Field Level Media