Los Angeles Angels: Santiago, Cron, Injuries, Call-Ups


Apr 14, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Hector Santiago (53) throws in the first inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the latest from the Los Angeles Angels on Hector Santiago’s demotion, another injury, a key addition, and a hero’s welcome.

Hector Santiago Goes To The Bullpen

The move was finally made.

After an abysmal start to the season, Hector Santiago will go to the Angels bullpen as expected. Santiago is 0-6 with a 5.09 ERA. And despite poor run support, Santiago has not shown much durability. He has made it into the seventh inning only twice in eight starts.

However, Manager Mike Scioscia will finally get a key lefty in his bullpen. That’s still good news despite the demotion. Santiago has had plenty of success out of the bullpen in his short career so far. His primary use with the White Sox was as a reliever/spot starter, or swing man. He could be a huge addition.

The Angels will also have to find another starter.

Matt Shoemaker will be called up to take Santiago’s place in the rotation. He will start tomorrow in Philadelphia against the Phillies. Should things not pan out there, Jose Alvarez as the second option, and Wade LeBlanc being the emergency option should anything go wrong with the first two.

A corresponding move will be announced before tomorrow’s game.

Santiago also apologized openly for showing up Scioscia while he was taking Hector out of his last game. Santiago began walking off the mound before Mike even got there, and people noticed. Santiago made amends, however, and the team will move forward.

This was a move that just about everyone saw coming, and might be the best move for Santiago. He should be effective in the bullpen. And it’s the equivalent of making a key trade for a reliever.

Santiago will likely find himself in a late inning role.

Stewart to DL, Jiminez Called Up

Angels utility player Ian Stewart is the latest to go the disabled list.

Stewart left Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays in the seventh inning after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand. Stewart had X-rays taken at Rogers Centre, which came back negative.

Stewart had just snapped an 0-for-24 slump with a sixth-inning triple. He later scored on a single from Collin Cowgill.

John McDonald entered the game as Stewart’s replacement.

With starting third baseman David Freese still on the DL, the Angels’ third base depth will be on display. The team called up Luis Jiminez, and he will start tonight.

Wounds On The Mend

With Stewart going on the disabled list, the Angels are still closer to getting their key players back.

Outfielders Josh Hamilton andKole Calhoun and third baseman David Freese are all making good progress.

They’re all recovering at the Angels Spring Training complex in Arizona, and are making significant progress.

Calhoun could go on a rehab assignment as early as next week.

Freese will likely be activated when he’s eligible on May 18.

Hamilton has started swinging the bat with both hands and is eyeing his return on the upcoming Royals series on May 23-25.

The Possible Significance of CJ Cron

Upon the return of Hamilton, Calhoun, and Freese, the addition of rookie CJ Cron could send the Angels’ starting lineup over the top as one of the offensive juggernauts of Major League Baseball.

Cron was the Angels’ first round selection in the 2011 Amateur Player Draft, and was projected as having the most power of any position player in that draft. Cron battled a shoulder injury, as well as plate discipline, but displayed his power in the Angels’ minor league system. He has begun to do so in the Majors now, as Cron hit his first Big League homerun on Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

With Cron hitting behind Hamilton, possibly in place of struggling Raul Ibanez, the Angels’ lineup at full strength might just slug their way through no matter what their pitching staff does. It should be a lot of fun to watch.

Cron is also under club control for five more years, which means he’s another power bat for the future as well.

John McDonald Receives A Hero’s Welcome in Toronto

John McDonald received a standing ovation when he came up to plate in the ninth inning of Friday’s opener against the Blue Jays. But it wasn’t because he’s an Angel.

McDonald, 39, spent seven seasons with the Blue Jays, and was a fan favorite in Toronto.

With over 1,000 career Major League games played, McDonald’s career is winding down. But this gesture meant a lot to him. McDonald was a youngster who had to overcome overwhelming odds to be a Big Leaguer. He has never been a starter, and has spent his entire career as a bench player.

His inspiration comes from his father, who told him to just work hard and play hard on the field.

Toronto fans refer McDonald as the Prime Minister. Perhaps it’s a reference to Canada’s first ever Prime Minister, John MacDonald.

Players on the Move

  • Left-hander Buddy Boshers cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake. Boshers was designated for assignment last week when the Halos claimed Brooks Raley off waivers from the Twins.
  • The Angels acquired minor league right-hander Greg Billo from the Royals for cash considerations. Billo, 23, posted a 1.35 ERA with a 38-to-13 K/BB ratio in 40 innings at Class A Lexington last season. But has a 7.41 ERA with 17 strikeouts and 13 walks in 17 innings at Double-A this season. Kansas City selected Billo in the 28th round of the 2008 draft. Prior to 2012, Baseball America once regarded Billo as having the best command of any pitcher in the Royals’ system. But that is not translating as of right now. Should the Angels right that ship, they could have themselves another good young reliever for the future.
  • The Angels signed outfielder Erik Komatsu to a minor league deal. Komatsu, 26, is a former Rule 5 pick, who saw brief MLB time with the Cardinals and Twins. He was recently released by the Nationals.