Alex Claudio (hip) back, but not a full go

February 24th, 2021

Left-hander , who has been dealing with a right hip infection, was cleared to arrive at Angels camp on Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon said.

Claudio, who signed a one-year deal worth $1.125 million this offseason, still hasn’t been cleared to throw, but he is making progress. The 29-year-old is slated to be the club’s primary left-handed reliever.

“He’s actually doing pretty well,” Maddon said. “I don’t have the specific timeline just yet. The fact that he’s here, I’m getting good reports from the trainers that he’s making good progress. He’s doing well, making progress and no regressions, so he’s on a good path. Being that he’s a reliever, once he’s given the go-ahead, he’ll get back to speed.”

Claudio has a career 3.44 ERA in seven seasons with the Rangers and Brewers, including a 4.26 ERA in 19 innings with Milwaukee in '20. He led the Majors with 83 appearances in '19, posting a 4.06 ERA in 62 innings.

Claudio's four-seam fastball averaged just 85.8 mph last year, but he fools hitters with his changeup and slider while mixing in a sinker as well. He was among the league leaders in keeping opponents’ exit velocities down, meaning he's difficult to square up and the numbers back that up. He's also allowed only 25 homers over 311 2/3 career innings in the Majors.

Claudio is the lone lefty who is a lock to make the bullpen this spring, but other lefties are competing for a spot in the bullpen, such as José Quijada, Dillon Peters, Thomas Pannone and possibly Patrick Sandoval. Quijada, though, isn’t in camp yet as he’s dealing with visa issues. Quijada and non-roster right-hander Junior Guerra are the only two players who haven’t arrived at camp yet, as Guerra is also facing visa issues.

Angels tidbits
• Maddon had strong praise for prospects Jordyn Adams and Jeremiah Jackson, who are both non-roster invitees to camp. Adams, a 21-year-old outfielder, is ranked as the club's No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, while Jackson, a 20-year-old middle infielder who could move to third, is ranked No. 4. Both are considered likely to debut in 2022.

"Both of them are very interesting," Maddon said. "Physically, Jordyn is really maturing right now. My goodness. He's getting so much bigger and stronger. Wonderful to speak to, really sharp. He just needs more baseball direction. Jackson, I was told just to watch the ball come off his bat. The ball comes off. I talked to him. High IQ in general. These are two kids to really watch moving forward."

• Interim pitching coach Matt Wise continues to do well despite testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Maddon said Wise has been mostly symptom-free and has been able to join the daily Zoom videos with the coaching staff. New bullpen coach Dom Chiti has helped take over duties for Wise, and there’s still no exact timetable for Wise’s return.

“He really hasn’t missed a beat,” Maddon said. “It’s just that he can’t be here physically. But we’ve been in constant contact with him. Dom and him are working really well together. So when he comes back here, it’ll be like he never missed a beat.”