Angels pitcher Hector Santiago demoted to the bullpen

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Back end of the Angels rotation stunk on ice last year. The three-way trade with the Dbacks was designed to shore up the rotation, bringing in Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs is still in the back of the rotation, but Santiago isn’t: the Angels just demoted him to the bullpen.

The move is considered temporary, but it’s probably deserved. Santiago has posted a 5.19 ERA over his first seven starts and is walking 4.7 batters per nine innings.

Who takes his place in the rotation is unclear.

Michael Brantley has ankle surgery, to be sidelined 4-5 months

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The Cleveland Indians just announced that outfielder Michael Brantley underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery yesterday, aimed at stabilizing ligaments. He’s expected to be able to resume baseball activities in 4-5 months, which is likely to delay the beginning of his 2018 season.

Brantley only played in 90 games for the Indians in 2017, sitting out most of August and all of September, but returning for the postseason. He injured the ankle in a game against the Rockies on August 8 and it never did get quite right, as his 1-for-11 line in the ALDS suggested. On the season as a whole Brantley hit .299/.357/.444 with nine homers and 52 driven in.

Brantley’s contract expires with the 2017 season, but there is a 2018 team option at a relatively reasonable $11 million. While he has only played 101 games in the past two seasons combined due to injuries, his strong performance from 2012-2015, and his status as a team leader, will likely lead the Indians to exercise that option.