The Angels are down to three healthy starting pitchers after right-hander JC Ramirez left his latest start with forearm tightness in his pitching arm. Ramirez told reporters that he felt discomfort during warm-ups on Saturday, but managed to persevere through a 55-pitch outing anyway. He issued five walks, two hits and two runs in the first two innings of the game before making a hasty exit prior to the third.
The 29-year-old righty is expected to undergo a full evaluation on Sunday, at which point the team will get a clearer sense of the nature of his injury. This could be the second serious setback Ramirez has weathered in less than a year, given the way his 2017 season ended with a partial tear in his UCL last August. He underwent stem-cell therapy to treat the injury and appeared to make a full recovery in camp, though he hasn’t looked particularly solid in any of his outings so far this season. Prior to Saturday’s loss, he lasted just 4 2/3 innings against the Indians with five runs, two walks, three home runs and three strikeouts in his season debut.
Even if Ramirez gets a clean bill of health following Sunday’s evaluation, the Angels will likely be looking to pull reinforcements from Triple-A Salt Lake. It’s not too farfetched to assume they’ll want to take things slow with the veteran starter given his history of forearm issues, though the rotation has already been hampered by the loss of Andrew Heaney (left elbow inflammation) and Matt Shoemaker (right forearm strain) this spring.