Fowler injured his knee while sliding into second base in Friday’s game and was originally diagnosed with a knee contusion before being further examined on Saturday. The Angels are optimistic that Fowler won’t miss too much time. Fowler, 35, was batting .250/.286/.250 with one RBI in seven games.
“He was sore,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He underwent an MRI, and nothing came back awful other than that he’s sore. I don’t know the length of time he’ll be out, but he was definitely more sore today than he was last night.”
Interestingly, Fowler wasn’t replaced by another position player. The Angels opted to go with another pitcher to give them more depth, especially with rain in the forecast on Saturday and Sunday in Dunedin.
Barria is stretched out to five innings and about 85-95 pitches, so he can serve as the club’s long reliever, especially if there is a rain delay that forces the starter out of a game early.
“There’s a potential for start-and-stop games,” Maddon said. “And with the position players, the need for the bench isn’t like it would be for a National League team. We’re not really platooning or pinch-hitting a lot. Our bullpen has been stretched a little bit based on a lot of close games. So we just thought Jaime was the right guy to take us through this moment.”
Juan Lagares replaced Fowler in the lineup in right field and is expected to see most of the action there. But Jared Walsh and José Rojas could also man right field, depending on matchups. So Maddon said it’ll be a mix of players who replace Fowler.
“It opens up to move things around a little bit,” Maddon said. “Dex was really coming on. I think we’ll see Rojas facing some righties. So it’ll be a little bit of all kinds of concoctions right now.”
Ohtani tentatively scheduled for bullpen session
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani is continuing to monitor the blister on his right middle finger and is tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Monday in Kansas City. But Maddon wasn’t sure if Ohtani will need to wear a bandage over the finger while throwing, or if it has improved enough that he won’t need it.
The Angels have yet to announce their starters for their three-game series against the Royals starting Monday, as there remains a chance Ohtani could pitch in the series finale on Wednesday. But the club could also wait to start Ohtani once it gets back home for its three-game set against the Twins that begins on Friday.
Rendon says swing is ‘one tick behind’
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is off to a bit of a slow start by his standards, as he entered Saturday’s game batting .259/.364/.259 in seven games. Rendon, though, said he doesn’t feel like his swing is that far off and believes he’ll get it going, much like last year, when he started slow but bounced back for a strong season that saw him finish 10th in the balloting for the American League MVP Award.
“I’m definitely not where I want to be, but it’s a 162-game season,” Rendon said. “It’s not anything I haven’t been through before. I’m waiting to get into that sweet zone and be aggressive up there.”
Rendon said he knows his swing is going well when he’s using his hands more and not leading too much with his front side as he strides. He’s not quite there yet, but he believes he’s close.
“I think I’m just one tick behind,” Rendon said. “Whether that means I need to get my foot down earlier, or start my load a little earlier. I’m still getting the barrel to it, I’m just fouling them off right now. I just need to get one tick or one frame, as we call it, earlier.”