Vernon Wells nearing return, but do Angels want him back?


Vernon Wells is close to returning from a torn thumb ligament that has sidelined him since mid-May, but with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Torii Hunter entrenched as the Angels’ starting outfield and Kendry Morales playing every day at designated hitter … well, do they even want him back?

Wells had a miserable 2011 and was only slightly better this season before the injury, hitting .244 with a .282 on-base percentage and .422 slugging percentage in 38 games. He still has 20-homer, but the combination of a low batting average and terrible plate discipline makes Wells an out-machine.

He might fit decently in a platoon role spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching, but Trout, Trumbo, and Hunter are all right-handed hitters. Morales is a switch-hitter who’s struggled against lefties, so a Morales-Wells platoon at DH could work.

Wells needs to go on a minor-league rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list, so the Angels likely have a week or so to figure out a plan for their unwanted outfielder with about $50 million remaining on his contract.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.