AL West Notes: Ohtani, Angels, Syndergaard, Altuve, Carpenter, Story, Giles

Reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani was removed from today’s game due to right groin tightness, as he suffered the injury while trying to beat out a double play during the seventh inning.  Jack Mayfield pinch-hit for Ohtani in the ninth inning, when the DH spot was next up at the plate.  Ohtani told’s Rhett Bollinger and other reporters that it was something of a precautionary removal and that he intended to play tomorrow, though Angels manager Joe Maddon took a more wait-and-see approach.

Naturally, any injury to Ohtani impacts the Angels on two fronts, as he is also scheduled to start Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox.  With Los Angeles optioning Jose Suarez to Triple-A today, it could provide an opportunity for Jaime Barria or Kenny Rosenberg to pick up a spot in the Halos’ six-man rotation.

The Angels at least know who will be starting Tuesday’s series opener, as Maddon said that Noah Syndergaard will take the ball.  Syndergaard was scratched from a planned start last Friday due to illness, but it appears as though the right-hander is back in good health, and he tossed a bullpen session today with no issues.

More from around the AL West…

  • Jose Altuve is on pace to be activated from the 10-day injured list on Monday when the Astros begin a home series against the Mariners, Astros GM James Click told reporters (including The Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome).  A left hamstring strain sent Altuve to the IL on April 20, though the strain wasn’t thought to be serious at the time, and Altuve will indeed return only slightly beyond the minimum 10 days.  The seven-time All-Star has yet to get rolling this season, hitting only .167/.268/.250 over his first 41 plate appearances.
  • Matt Carpenter was one of several veterans signed to minor league contracts who had the ability to opt out of their deals today, but Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports that Carpenter will pass on his opt-out clause and remain in the Rangers organization.  It isn’t surprising that Carpenter (a Texas native) elected to stay put, as he already passed on another opt-out opportunity when the Rangers sent him to the minors at the end of Spring Training, and Carpenter said anyway that he needed more time to ramp up and adjust to his overhauled swing.  The former Cardinals standout has performed decently well at Triple-A Round Rock, hitting .239/.327/.457 with two home runs in 52 PA.
  • Both the Rangers and Mariners were linked to Trevor Story’s market prior to the lockout, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that both AL West rivals offered Story a contract similar to the six-year, $140MM deal that the free agent eventually signed with the Red Sox in March.  At that earlier date in the offseason, Story’s reps countered with a much larger contract demands, leading both Texas and Seattle to go in different directions with their lineup plans.  The Rangers instead splurged on both Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, while the Mariners (who intended to use Story as a second baseman) acquired Adam Frazier from the Padres, and then added Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the position player side in another trade with the Reds following the lockout.  Interestingly, Rosenthal notes that Story has changed his representation since signing with Boston, and is now a client of the Wasserman Agency.
  • Mariners reliever Ken Giles is still three or four weeks away from playing in any games, though he has started a throwing program, The Athletic’s Corey Brock reports.  Giles underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2020 and was aiming to return by Opening Day, though a strained tendon in his right middle finger set Giles back significantly during Spring Training.  As such, the veteran right-hander has had to more or less restart his ramp-up activities.  Still, Giles is on pace to be an option for the M’s bullpen come June, and he could be an impact addition if Giles is able to recapture some of his past form, as the righty has at times looked like one of the best relievers in baseball during his seven MLB seasons.

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