For the first time since 2011, Mike Trout is batting somewhere other than the leadoff spot for the Angels on Thursday. Manager Mike Scioscia has him in the two-hole against the A’s, with Alberto Callaspo at the top of the order.
The Angels are without usual No. 2 hitter, Erick Aybar, who is on the shelf with a heel injury.
Scioscia’s decision to move Trout seems less a reaction to Aybar’s injury and more born from a need to shake things up. The Angels held a team meeting after losing their third straight game last night and falling to 2-6. They’ve been outscored by the A’s 20-10 the last two days.
Trout is off to a modest .278/.333/.417 start with no homers, one RBI and 10 strikeouts in 36 at-bats. The Angels will see if sticking him in front of the red-hot Albert Pujols will do any good.
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.