The Los Angeles Angels will begin a three-game road series Monday night against the Cleveland Guardians, and one of the first questions Angels interim manager Phil Nevin will ask himself when he fills out the lineup card is — who’s on third?
Nevin has a number of players to choose from, especially considering the club has used 11 different players at third this season. But one player who will not be considered is Anthony Rendon.
Rendon was signed to play third base for the Angels before the 2020 season with the club committing $245 million over seven years. But three seasons in, Rendon has yet to play more than 58 games in a season.
He played in 52 games in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, 58 last season and just 45 this season, with Rendon besieged by injuries the last two years.
He hasn’t played since June 14 this year and had what was called “season-ending” surgery on his right wrist on June 20. But now, even though the Angels are not involved in the pennant race, Rendon is hoping to return later this month.
Rendon is traveling with the team on the current road trip and participating in baseball activities, albeit limited.
“It’s more (for) peace of mind for him to be able to be out here with the guys,” Nevin said. “We’re not sure yet what that means for his return, but he is doing more than what we thought at this point in the year. I think it’s good for his mind to know that he’s healthy.”
Angels left-hander Reid Detmers (5-5, 3.67 ERA) will make his 22nd start of the season on Monday for Los Angeles. He is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts versus Cleveland.
Left-hander Konnor Pilkington (1-2, 3.99) will make his 10th start (14th appearance) of the season for Cleveland. He hasn’t started a major league game since July 23, spending most of the past two months at Triple-A Columbus.
Unlike the Angels, the Guardians are in a pennant race. They lead the American League Central, although the White Sox and Twins are close behind. A big part of their success has been the play of second baseman Andres Gimenez.
The Guardians insisted that the Mets include Gimenez in the January 2021 trade that sent Francisco Lindor to New York. After some growing pains in 2021, Gimenez is making his mark this season.
After going 1-for-4 with a home run in Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Twins, Gimenez is hitting .299 with 16 homers, 62 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and an .847 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
“I think last year everything was new to him,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “New team. A little bit of a new position. I think he felt like he had to get hits to stay in the lineup. That’s a hard way to play.
Now he’s a year more familiar with us, with his game, with everything and he’s showing he’s a pretty good player. Not just a hitter. He runs the bases the way he’s supposed to. He plays the (heck) out of second base. I mean, just a really good player. He’s getting better.”
–Field Level Media