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Who will Angels protect from Rule 5 Draft?

Newly improved farm system gives Halos difficult choices to make
MLB.com

One of the tricky -- though welcomed -- consequences of their rebuilt farm system is that the Angels are now faced with a 40-man roster crunch that will force them to make difficult personnel decisions next week.

General manager Billy Eppler and his staff will have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT to add eligible Minor Leaguers to the club's 40-man roster to shield them from the Rule 5 Draft. Those left unprotected could be selected by another team during the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place on Dec. 13 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

One of the tricky -- though welcomed -- consequences of their rebuilt farm system is that the Angels are now faced with a 40-man roster crunch that will force them to make difficult personnel decisions next week.

General manager Billy Eppler and his staff will have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT to add eligible Minor Leaguers to the club's 40-man roster to shield them from the Rule 5 Draft. Those left unprotected could be selected by another team during the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place on Dec. 13 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

Eligible players are those who signed or were drafted when they were 18 or younger and have logged five Minor League seasons, or those who signed or were drafted when they were 19 or older and have completed four Minor League seasons.

The Angels currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster, so they'll have to clear a handful of spots in the coming days if they want to protect more than one Draft-eligible prospect.

"It's going to be difficult this season," Eppler said at the GM Meetings earlier this month. "I'd rather be in that position than not. But we've already had an initial conversation internally about it to kind of help us prepare with some of the roster moves that you've seen us making now. We'll see how that unfolds."

Here are 10 notable players who will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if the Angels do not move to protect them by Tuesday:

LHP Jose Suarez (No. 8 prospect, per MLB Pipeline)
Suarez appears to be a lock to be added to the 40-man roster, as he's developed into one of the organization's top pitching prospects after making his way from Class A Advanced Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake in 2018. The 20-year-old Venezuelan posted a 3.92 ERA over 117 innings across three Minor League levels and missed a ton of bats, averaging 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He will enter the 2019 season on the Angels' rotation depth chart and should reach the Majors sooner rather than later.

INF Luis Rengifo (No. 10)
Acquired from the Rays in exchange for C.J. Cron in February, Rengifo, 21, should also be an easy add. The switch-hitting middle infielder batted .299 with an .851 OPS and 41 stolen bases in 127 games across three levels in 2018, finishing the year at Triple-A Salt Lake. He is expected to compete with David Fletcher and Taylor Ward for a starting infield job during Spring Training.

INF Leonardo Rivas (No. 15)
Known for his on-base skills, speed and solid defense in the middle infield, the 21-year-old Rivas experienced a dip in his offensive production in 2018, batting .234 with a .687 OPS and 16 stolen bases in 121 games between the Rookie-level Angels and Class A Burlington. The fact that he hasn't played above A-ball could make it difficult for the Angels to award him a spot on their 40-man roster this fall.

RHP Luis Pena (No. 18)
Pena, 23, logged a 4.85 ERA over 105 2/3 innings in 23 starts between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake this past season. He mixes a low-90s fastball with a nasty slider, though his changeup and command have been inconsistent in the past.

RHP Joe Gatto (No. 28)
A second-round Draft pick of the Angels in 2014, Gatto recorded a 5.18 ERA over 120 innings in 25 starts between Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Double-A Mobile in 2018. He's had trouble developing a third pitch to complement his sinker-curveball combination, but the 23-year-old still has some time to continue to improve.

OF/1B Jared Walsh
Walsh isn't ranked among the Angels' Top 30 prospects, but he's likely to be added to the 40-man roster after batting .277 with an .895 OPS and 29 home runs in 128 games across three levels in 2018. A 25-year-old left-handed hitter, Walsh can play the corner outfield, first base and was also sent to the instructional league this fall to take part in a formal pitching program. Eppler has already included Walsh among the group of young position players that he believes will be ready to contribute to the Angels in 2019.

CF Bo Way
A seventh-round Draft pick out of Kennesaw State in 2014, Way hit .312 with a .759 OPS in 2018, though he was limited to only 68 games between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake. Way has also been deployed as a left-handed pitcher in the Minors and posted a 2.84 ERA over 6 1/3 innings in six relief appearances this past season. He joined Walsh in the instructional league to further his development as a pitcher this fall.

INF Roberto Baldoquin
The Angels spent nearly $15 million to sign Baldoquin out of Cuba in 2014 and have since watched the 24-year-old infielder make a slow climb up their organizational ranks. He showed signs of improvement in 2018, batting a career-high .278 with a .713 OPS in 82 games between Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Double-A Mobile. But that success did not extend to Baldoquin's stint in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit just .188 with 17 strikeouts and five walks in 11 games with the Mesa Solar Sox.

LHP Conor Lillis-White
Lillis-White has enjoyed a steady rise through the Angels' farm system since being selected in the 32nd round of the 2015 Draft out of the University of British Columbia. The 26-year-old reliever logged a 3.50 ERA over 72 innings in 46 appearances between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake in 2018. His ability to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen could also help bolster his case for a spot on the club's 40-man roster.

RHP Jeremy Rhoades
Rhoades, a fourth-round Draft pick by the Angels out of Illinois State in 2014, is another intriguing relief option who is coming off a breakout season in the Minors. Rhoades recorded a 2.54 ERA over 78 innings in 54 appearances between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake this past season. The 25-year-old was named a Pacific Coast League All-Star in July and allowed only one earned run in 22 games in the second half.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter.

Los Angeles Angels

Halos' Jones homers in perfect day at plate in AFL

MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jahmai Jones had a perfect day at the plate on Friday, reaching base in all five trips to the plate and belting his first homer of the Arizona Fall League season to lead the Mesa Solar Sox to an 8-0 win over the Peoria Javelinas.

Jones, a second-round Draft pick by the Angels in 2015 and the team's No. 4 prospect, went 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs, two RBIs and a stolen base. He was also hit by a pitch. His solo shot off Javelinas reliever Brandon Lawson (Rays) put Mesa up, 7-0 in the fourth.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jahmai Jones had a perfect day at the plate on Friday, reaching base in all five trips to the plate and belting his first homer of the Arizona Fall League season to lead the Mesa Solar Sox to an 8-0 win over the Peoria Javelinas.

Jones, a second-round Draft pick by the Angels in 2015 and the team's No. 4 prospect, went 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs, two RBIs and a stolen base. He was also hit by a pitch. His solo shot off Javelinas reliever Brandon Lawson (Rays) put Mesa up, 7-0 in the fourth.

Box score

"Just got a pitch in my zone. Just felt good today at the plate, felt good today in the cage before we came over so I just tried to ride it out as long as I could," Jones said.

Mesa hurlers struck out 16 Javelinas in what was the first shutout of the 2018 Fall League, including six by Red Sox No. 7 prospect Darwinzon Hernandez, who fanned the size in the sixth and seventh innings.

"I felt great. Our team played absolutely amazing today," Jones said.

Jones is no stranger to athletic success. His brother, T.J., is a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, the team his father Andre also played for.

The 21-year-old is knocking on the door of the big leagues after converting from the outfield to the infield and reaching Double-A this year, but he trusts Angels General Manager Billy Eppler with his future.

"That's not up to me, it's up to Billy and what he thinks is right and whatever decision he thinks is right, I'm rolling with," Jones said.

Despite going hitless in his first two Fall League games, Jones did draw two walks in each, stole a base and scored three runs. He now sports a .643 OBP through three games.

Jones only hit .239 between Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Double-A Mobile, but he did draw 67 walks for a combined .337 on-base percentage while hitting 10 homers and stealing 24 bases

"Of course I wanna be in the big leagues! Who doesn't wanna be in the big leagues? But it's all a plan. Whatever happens happens;" Jones said.

The Roswell, Ga. native is more than 1,800 miles away from home, but he has a secret to what has been a successful start to Fall League and what he hopes will be an even more successful 2019 season.

"I try not to take it too hard on stuff that's out of my control and just have some fun while doing it."

Ricardo Ávila is a graduate journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Los Angeles Angels

Pipeline names Angels' Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Angels' rebuilt farm system is finally starting to bear fruit, as evidenced by the ascendance of third baseman Taylor Ward and right-hander Griffin Canning, who have been recognized by MLB Pipeline as the club's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year, respectively.

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

ANAHEIM -- The Angels' rebuilt farm system is finally starting to bear fruit, as evidenced by the ascendance of third baseman Taylor Ward and right-hander Griffin Canning, who have been recognized by MLB Pipeline as the club's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year, respectively.

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Ward, a first-round pick of the Angels in 2015, was originally drafted as a catcher, but he transitioned to third base this year, a move that helped him unlock his offensive potential and accelerate his path to the Majors. The 24-year-old right-handed hitter enjoyed a breakout season in the Minors, batting .349 with a .977 OPS, 14 home runs and 60 RBIs over 102 games between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake.

Ward was rewarded with his first MLB callup on Aug. 14 and spent the rest of the season as the Angels' starting third baseman. While he batted only .178 with a .578 OPS over 40 games in his first extended look in the Majors, he crushed three of his six home runs in the final week of September, including a walk-off blast in the club's regular-season finale.

Video: OAK@LAA: Ward smashes 2-run, walk-off home run in 9th

The Angels are hoping that Ward will be able to take on a larger role with the club next season, as he is expected to receive a chance to compete for a starting infield job during Spring Training.

"There's a lot of mechanical things that I'm still going to work on to tweak and get better at," Ward said. "And of course, third base, I'll be working extremely hard, like I have been all year, to take hits away over there. I want to be really good over there, just like how I was defensively at catching. I have a lot of work to do. We'll get started here soon at that."

Canning, 22, has emerged as the Angels' top pitching prospect after shooting from Class A Advanced Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake in his first professional season. A second-round Draft pick out of UCLA in 2017, Canning did not pitch in the Angels' organization last year because of concerns about his workload in college, but he quickly impressed after making his pro debut in April, logging a 3.65 ERA over 113 1/3 innings across three Minor League levels. While at Double-A Mobile, Canning was the starting pitcher in two combined no-hitters.

Video: Top Prospects: Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels

A polished arm with an advanced feel for pitching, Canning mixes a low-90s fastball with an above-average changeup, a curveball and a slider. Canning, who is ranked the Angels' No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is now on the cusp of the Majors and could be ready to contribute to the rotation at some point next year.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Taylor Ward

Ohtani humbled by AL Player of Week honor

Angels rookie rebounds after learning he needs TJ surgery
MLB.com

It would have been easy to forgive Shohei Ohtani had he metaphorically "packed it in" after hearing he would need Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. But, as the Angels star has done throughout his sensational rookie campaign, Ohtani defied expectations.

Ohtani overcame a tough prognosis to capture his second American League Player of the Week Award on Monday -- and it was well deserved. The Japanese phenom hit .474 last week with four home runs and 10 RBIs, reminding everyone that he can still make a major impact at the plate.

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It would have been easy to forgive Shohei Ohtani had he metaphorically "packed it in" after hearing he would need Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. But, as the Angels star has done throughout his sensational rookie campaign, Ohtani defied expectations.

Ohtani overcame a tough prognosis to capture his second American League Player of the Week Award on Monday -- and it was well deserved. The Japanese phenom hit .474 last week with four home runs and 10 RBIs, reminding everyone that he can still make a major impact at the plate.

View Full Game Coverage

"I'm very humbled by it, especially after missing six weeks with the injury," Ohtani told MLB Network on Tuesday. "I was very proud that I was able to come back and win this award again."

Ohtani acknowledged he was saddened by the news that he would not be able to pitch, likely until the 2020 season, due to a torn UCL in his right elbow. But he responded better than just about anyone could imagine hours after the Angels' announcement on Wednesday, going 4-for-4 and clubbing two homers against the Rangers.

Video: Ohtani shows power, leads the way for the Angels

"I wasn't the only one who was kind of down," Ohtani said. "Everyone around me who has supported me was down as well. So, I wanted to keep everyone in good spirits by performing well on the field."

Ohtani's week in total included a .474/.565/1.263 slash line and his first two dingers of the season off left-handed pitchers. Entering Tuesday, Ohtani's .595 slugging percentage ranked fourth among players with at least 250 plate appearances behind AL MVP Award candidates J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Mike Trout. Ohtani has homered in roughly one out of every 16 plate appearances.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani

First-round pick Adams out with broken jaw

17th overall Draft selection injured in outfield collision
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Angels first-round Draft pick Jordyn Adams is on the mend after suffering a broken jaw in an outfield collision during a game with Rookie-level Orem.

Adams departed the Aug. 14 game in the third inning after colliding with fellow outfielder Nonie Williams. Adams currently has his jaw wired shut, though he said he is hoping to get the wires off Friday.

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ANAHEIM -- Angels first-round Draft pick Jordyn Adams is on the mend after suffering a broken jaw in an outfield collision during a game with Rookie-level Orem.

Adams departed the Aug. 14 game in the third inning after colliding with fellow outfielder Nonie Williams. Adams currently has his jaw wired shut, though he said he is hoping to get the wires off Friday.

View Full Game Coverage

Adams, 18, worked out with an Angels trainer at Angel Stadium on Sunday morning in an attempt to maintain his muscle weight while his jaw heals. He has been restricted to a liquid diet since the surgery, causing him to drop 10 pounds in less than two weeks.

The Angels selected Adams with the 17th overall pick in June out of Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C. He made his professional debut with the Arizona League Angels in July before earning a promotion to Orem on Aug. 2.

Adams batted .267 with a .742 OPS, six doubles, three triples, 13 RBIs and five stolen bases in 29 games between the two Rookie-level affiliates. He is ranked as the Angels' No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Ohtani sits vs. LHP
Despite all the success he's enjoyed during his rookie season with the Angels, left-handed pitching continues to be a weak spot for Shohei Ohtani. One day after homering off Justin Verlander, the left-handed-hitting Ohtani was not in the Angels' starting lineup against Astros lefty Framber Valdez.

Ohtani is batting just .167 with a .498 OPS and zero home runs against left-handers this season, compared to .313 with a 1.038 OPS and 14 home runs against righties.

"I think that as Shohei starts to get more at-bats against left-handed pitching, you'll be able to evaluate him more," manager Mike Scioscia said Sunday. "He only has [60] at-bats against left-handed pitching. It's not an excessive amount. But compared to the way he's hit right-handers, obviously, it's like night and day. I think he's going to be a very balanced hitter as he moves forward in his career. But right now, getting acclimated to lefties is one thing that he's working very hard to do."

Robles reinstated
The Angels activated Hansel Robles from the disabled list and optioned Deck McGuire to Triple-A Salt Lake. Robles had been sidelined since Aug. 16 with a right shoulder impingement. Prior to the injury, he logged a 3.75 ERA over 24 innings for the Angels.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Jordyn Adams

Ward's stellar debut, Upton's big night lift Halos

MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- The Angels called up prospect Taylor Ward in the hope that he would provide a much-needed offensive boost at third base. After making his MLB debut on Tuesday night, Ward delivered, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in the Angels' 7-3 win over the Padres at Petco Park.

"It felt good," Ward said. "I was a little nervous early on, but around the third inning, I felt a lot better. I was able to slow the game down, and I was able to start breathing again."

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SAN DIEGO -- The Angels called up prospect Taylor Ward in the hope that he would provide a much-needed offensive boost at third base. After making his MLB debut on Tuesday night, Ward delivered, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in the Angels' 7-3 win over the Padres at Petco Park.

"It felt good," Ward said. "I was a little nervous early on, but around the third inning, I felt a lot better. I was able to slow the game down, and I was able to start breathing again."

View Full Game Coverage

Ward put the Angels on the board with an RBI double in his first at-bat in the second inning, walked in the fourth and singled to right field in the sixth. Originally drafted as a catcher, Ward was tested only twice at third base, venturing into foul territory to snag a popup off the bat of Hunter Renfroe in the first inning and successfully fielding a grounder from Freddy Galvis in the sixth.

Position change accelerated Ward's progress

"Fun to watch," manager Mike Scioscia said. "You have your normal butterflies any youngster would have, but he came up and he was really comfortable in the batter's box. He did a great job."

A first-round pick of the Angels in 2015, Ward said he had about 10 family members and friends in the stands on Tuesday. He planned to give his first-hit ball to his father, Joe.

Video: LAA@SD: Ward smacks an RBI double for 1st MLB hit

Justin Upton gave the Angels more reason to celebrate, as he extended his hitting streak to seven games by going 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and three RBIs.

"The way he's been swinging this week has given us a big lift," Scioscia said. "He's hitting the ball hard. He's had good at-bats. He's driving in runs and doing what he's capable of doing."

Video: LAA@SD: Upton drives in Calhoun with a single in 7th

Eric Young Jr. added two RBIs, as the Angels (61-60) climbed back over .500 with their second straight win over the Padres.

Rookie Jaime Barria picked up his eighth win of the season after giving up one run on six hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out seven in the 86-pitch effort. The 22-year-old right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his last four starts.

"He battled," Scioscia said. "He was missing up a lot. He had a lot of counts that got away from him. His fastball command wasn't quite as crisp, but I think his ability to use his slider and changeup to get back into some counts helped a lot. He pitched a good five innings, but he had to work really hard to get there."

Video: LAA@SD: Barria K's 7 over 5 innings of 1-run ball

The Angels opened the scoring in the second inning after Francisco Arcia and Kaleb Cowart delivered back-to-back singles off Padres right-hander Brett Kennedy to bring up Ward with runners on first and second and no outs. Ward promptly stroked a double down the right-field line for his first MLB hit and first RBI.

"Luckily enough, I took a good swing and got it down that line," Ward said.

Video: LAA@SD: Ward discusses his successful MLB debut

Young followed by plating Cowart from third on a run-scoring groundout. Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg fielded the ball and had a play at the plate, but he bobbled the transfer and could only get the out at first base, allowing Cowart to slide in safely and extend the Angels' lead to 2-0.

In the fourth, Ward drew a four-pitch walk off Kennedy and scored from first on Young's one-out triple to center field.

Video: LAA@SD: Young Jr. rips an RBI triple to right field

Barria pitched around traffic to post three scoreless innings before surrendering a solo home run to Galvis that cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fourth. Still, the Angels padded their lead in the fifth after David Fletcher singled to set up Upton's 26th home run of the season, a 435-foot shot to center field that made it 5-1.

The Padres pulled within two by scoring a pair of runs off Hansel Robles in the sixth, but the Angels regained some breathing room on Upton's RBI single in the seventh and Kole Calhoun's sacrifice fly in the ninth.

SOUND SMART
Upton has homered in five of his last seven games and is batting .448 (13-for-29) with 12 RBIs over that span. He is 8-for-18 against his former club since departing San Diego via free agency following the 2015 season.

Video: LAA@SD: Upton clobbers a 2-run homer to center field

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Renfroe led off the eighth with a single off Jim Johnson, but he was erased from the basepaths after Spangenberg grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. The Padres thought Spangenberg might have narrowly beaten out shortstop Andrelton Simmons' throw to first base and challenged the call, but the ruling was confirmed following a replay review.

Video: LAA@SD: Angels turn double play as call is confirmed

UP NEXT
Right-hander Felix Pena (1-3, 4.95 ERA) will take the mound on Wednesday as the Angels close out their three-game Interleague series against the Padres at 6:10 p.m. PT at Petco Park. He will be opposed by San Diego left-hander Robbie Erlin (2-3, 3.36 ERA). Pena is 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA in three road starts this season. He made his only appearance against the Padres as a reliever for the Cubs on Aug. 23, 2016, in which he gave up three runs over one-third of an inning.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Jaime Barria

Position change accelerates Ward's progress

Angels' No. 8 prospect plays third, goes 2-for-3 in debut vs. Padres
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Taylor Ward admitted that would often fall asleep thinking about this moment. His dream finally became a reality on Tuesday, when he received his first big league callup with the Angels.

"It was a surprise," Ward said. "I'm very lucky to be here. Very excited."

View Full Game Coverage

SAN DIEGO -- Taylor Ward admitted that would often fall asleep thinking about this moment. His dream finally became a reality on Tuesday, when he received his first big league callup with the Angels.

"It was a surprise," Ward said. "I'm very lucky to be here. Very excited."

View Full Game Coverage

In his first big league at-bat in the second inning of the Angels' 7-3 win at Petco Park, Ward doubled and drove in a run to put the Angels up, 1-0, against the Padres. He went 2-for-3, walking in the fourth and singling to right field in the sixth.

Video: LAA@SD: Ward collects 2 hits, RBI in MLB debut

Ward, who is ranked the Angels' No. 8 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, started at third base and batted seventh. Selected by the Angels as a catcher in the first round of the 2015 Draft, Ward transitioned to third at the beginning of the season, a switch that helped accelerate his path to the Majors.

Infielder Jose Fernandez was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake to clear a roster spot for Ward, and Chris Young (right hip surgery) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to create a vacancy on the 40-man roster.

After underwhelming in his first few years in the Minors, Ward has enjoyed a breakout season at the plate, hitting .349 with a .977 OPS, 14 home runs and 60 RBIs over 102 games between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake this season.

"I did a lot of things in this offseason to really refine my swing and get into positions that I can easily repeat," the right-handed-hitting Ward said. "That's what I've done so far this year. I've worked very hard to get here, with my swing, as with third base. I'm feeling good offensively as well."

The Angels believe the position change also helped Ward unlock his offensive potential, as he was no longer burdened by the responsibilities of catching. Ward said he was initially "very shocked" when the Angels approached him about moving to third base during Spring Training.

"I feel good," Ward said. "Of course, there's a lot of tweaking that's been going on. In the past three or four games in Salt Lake, I found a routine before every pitch that will get me in the right position to make the best decision as quickly as I can. The last four days, I felt really good in Salt Lake with that. Right now, I'm feeling very confident."

Video: LAA@SD: Ward discusses his successful MLB debut

Ward, 24, said he is still working on getting consistent reads and on staying locked in on every pitch.

"That's something that has to come with experience," Ward said. "To be here right now with the little bit of experience that I have over there, it's pretty special. There's a few things, but I'm going to continue to work."

Manager Mike Scioscia said Monday that Ward will get an opportunity to play regularly at third base. Angels third basemen have posted a .623 OPS this season, the second-lowest mark in the Majors behind the Mets (.604).

Rivera inching closer to a return

Rene Rivera was back in the Angels' clubhouse on Tuesday after catching back-to-back nine-inning games with Class A Advanced Inland Empire. Rivera has not played since May 16 due to right knee surgery.

"I'm excited," Rivera said. "I want to play. I want to be back and be part of the team. I'm ready to do my best out there."

Scioscia said Rivera will be evaluated by the club's medical staff before they decide when the 35-year-old veteran will be activated off the disabled list. Rivera will give the Angels the experienced backstop they have been missing since starter Martin Maldonado was traded to the Astros on July 26. Rookies Jose Briceno and Francisco Arcia have been filling in behind the plate over the last three weeks.

"I think they've done a great job, but there are certainly some growing pains you would expect with any young catcher, especially coming in and trying to fill Martin's shoes on the game plan and working with pitchers," Scioscia said. "But they've made a quick study of things, and I think they're doing a very good job of that."

Worth noting

Shohei Ohtani is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Wednesday as he continues his rehab from the Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Ohtani has already completed two light bullpen sessions and is expected to ramp up the intensity for his third session.

• Scioscia said the Angels do not have any new information on when Mike Trout might rejoin the club. Trout is currently on the East Coast tending to a personal family matter, and the Angels are unsure if he'll be available to come off the disabled list when he's eligible on Thursday. Trout has not played since Aug. 1 due to right wrist inflammation.

Albert Pujols received a routine day off Tuesday. Kaleb Cowart started at first base.

• The Angels are expecting to rely entirely on their bullpen Thursday and Friday in Texas to fill the voids in their rotation left by the injuries to starters Nick Tropeano and Tyler Skaggs.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels

Angels to call up third-base prospect Ward

Former first-round pick expected to be activated Tuesday
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- It won't be official until Tuesday, but third baseman Taylor Ward is finally getting his first crack at the Majors.

Ward, who is ranked the Angels' No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, joined the Angels on Monday at Petco Park and is expected to be activated on Tuesday. A first-round Draft pick of the Angels in 2015, Ward has emerged as an offensive force this season, batting .349 with a .977 OPS, 14 home runs and 60 RBIs in 102 games between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake.

View Full Game Coverage

SAN DIEGO -- It won't be official until Tuesday, but third baseman Taylor Ward is finally getting his first crack at the Majors.

Ward, who is ranked the Angels' No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, joined the Angels on Monday at Petco Park and is expected to be activated on Tuesday. A first-round Draft pick of the Angels in 2015, Ward has emerged as an offensive force this season, batting .349 with a .977 OPS, 14 home runs and 60 RBIs in 102 games between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake.

View Full Game Coverage

Ward, 24, was originally drafted as a catcher before making the transition to third base this season. The Angels believe his breakthrough at the plate is tied to the position change, as he no longer has to worry about handling pitchers.

"His bat has really blossomed," manager Mike Scioscia. "I think we always thought he had this offensive potential, but I think getting out from behind the plate has shown what a good offensive player he can be. He's going to get a chance to play and hopefully contribute. He'll give us some offense at third base."

Ward's path to the Majors became clearer after the Angels designated Luis Valbuena for assignment last week. The Angels have been using a combination of Kaleb Cowart, Jefry Marte and Jose Fernandez to fill their void at third base, but Ward will get a chance to play there regularly once he is officially added to the roster.

"He's going to get a good chance to play," Scioscia said. "It's tough to just project how much playing time a guy will get because you're still looking for production and performance. You certainly don't want to give him too much to where a young kid is swallowed up by what the experience is. But we think he's ready for it, and he'll get a chance to meet the challenge."

Trout update
Mike Trout did not travel with the club to San Diego, as he is currently on the East Coast attending to a personal family matter. The Angels had been hoping to get Trout back on Thursday, when he's eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list, but this development has cast doubt on his availability. Trout has been sidelined since Aug. 1 with an inflamed right wrist.

Worth noting
• Shortstop Andrelton Simmons returned to the lineup on Monday after missing one game with left knee soreness.

• The Angels called up right-hander Osmer Morales from Triple-A Salt Lake and optioned right-hander Eduardo Paredes on Monday. It is the first stint in the Majors for the 25-year-old Morales, who has logged a 6.22 ERA over 92 2/3 innings for Salt Lake this year. Scioscia said Morales is a potential starting option for the Angels, who currently have two vacancies in their rotation following the injuries to Tyler Skaggs and Nick Tropeano.

• The Angels announced Monday that they have signed a two-year extension of their player development contract with the Salt Lake Bees. The new deal will cover the 2021-2022 seasons. The two clubs have been affiliates since 2001.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels

Adell's stock continues to climb

Angels' top prospect turning heads in the Minor Leagues
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Less than 14 months after being selected by the Angels with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 Draft, outfielder Jo Adell made his debut with Double-A Mobile on Tuesday and continued to turn heads, going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the BayBears' 9-6 victory.

After opening the season at Class A Burlington, Adell has already earned two promotions, batting .303 with a .936 OPS, 19 home runs and 73 RBIs in 83 games across three Minor League levels. The 19-year-old is the second-youngest player to reach the Double-A level this season, behind top Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., who is three months younger.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Less than 14 months after being selected by the Angels with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 Draft, outfielder Jo Adell made his debut with Double-A Mobile on Tuesday and continued to turn heads, going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the BayBears' 9-6 victory.

After opening the season at Class A Burlington, Adell has already earned two promotions, batting .303 with a .936 OPS, 19 home runs and 73 RBIs in 83 games across three Minor League levels. The 19-year-old is the second-youngest player to reach the Double-A level this season, behind top Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., who is three months younger.

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Adell's impressive raw power was on display on Tuesday, as his home run -- his first Double-A hit -- traveled an estimated 428 feet with an exit velocity of 112.9 mph, according to BayBears director of broadcasting and media relations Steve Goldberg.

Ranked the No. 16 overall prospect in baseball and the Angels' top prospect, Adell is easily the club's most exciting prospect since another high school outfielder -- Mike Trout.

"I think everyone is excited about Jo and where he is," manager Mike Scioscia said on Wednesday. "Just the growth you've seen from a teenager in a couple years, it's incredible. His athleticism is off the charts, and he's doing some great things on the field."

Although Adell has made a rapid ascent through the Angels' farm system, Scioscia thinks it's still too early to consider him part of the club's depth chart at the Major League level.

"There's a lot of things a young player has to learn before he's ready for that opportunity," Scioscia said. "But there's no doubt that Jo, he's made great strides. He's been really dynamic in everything he's doing on the baseball field."

Worth noting

• Trout started at designated hitter on Wednesday to get a day off from playing on the artificial outfield turf at Tropicana Field, leaving Shohei Ohtani out of the starting lineup against the Rays. Eric Young Jr. started at center field in place of Trout.

"There's certainly going to be days when you're not going to be able to get everybody in the lineup," Scioscia said. "It's just where we are."

Ohtani, who is limited to hitting as he works his way back from a sprained elbow ligament, has progressed to throwing from 100 feet.

• Shortstop Andrelton Simmons returned to the lineup on Wednesday after receiving a scheduled day off on Tuesday.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Jo Adell

Top prospect Adell to play in Futures Game

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Outfielder Jo Adell, who is ranked the Angels' No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has been chosen to participate in the 2018 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15.

The Angels drafted Adell with the 10th overall pick last year out of Ballard High School in Louisville, Ky., and he's lived up to the hype so far.

ANAHEIM -- Outfielder Jo Adell, who is ranked the Angels' No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has been chosen to participate in the 2018 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15.

The Angels drafted Adell with the 10th overall pick last year out of Ballard High School in Louisville, Ky., and he's lived up to the hype so far.

Adell, 19, was promoted to Class A Advanced Inland Empire last month and has put up impressive numbers in the California League, batting .315 with .954 OPS, 11 home runs, two triples, 12 doubles and 29 RBIs over 39 games. He will play for the U.S. Team, which holds a 12-7 edge over the World Team in the all-time series.

Former Angel Torii Hunter will manage the U.S. Team, while Triple-A Salt Lake skipper Keith Johnson will serve as the third-base coach. Vladimir Guerrero, who will become the first player to enter the Hall of Fame with an Angels cap later this month, will serve as the World Team's hitting coach.

MLB.com will live stream and MLB Network will exclusively televise the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at 1 p.m. PT on July 15, with Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, Lauren Shehadi and Jim Callis calling the contest live from Nationals Park. The game will also be available to SiriusXM subscribers.

Video: Callis discusses Futures Game roster, fantasy picks

Resurgent Calhoun
The Angels knew it was only a matter of time before Kole Calhoun emerged from his early season slump, and he's finally starting to reward their faith. Since coming off the disabled list on June 18, Calhoun has batted .288 with a .905 OPS, four home runs and nine RBIs. Before the injury, he was hitting .145 with one home run over 50 games.

"It's like Kole Calhoun version 2.0," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He made some serious adjustments in his game, but he's letting his skill set play. He's always had great hands, he's always had great balance and he's getting back into that feel, so there's no doubt that he's more comfortable."

Video: LAA@SEA: Calhoun clobbers a 2-run home run to right

Ohtani vs. Maeda
Shohei Ohtani started at designated hitter and batted sixth against countryman Kenta Maeda on Friday. Ohtani went 2-for-7 with four strikeouts against Maeda in Japan, though they rarely faced each other since they played in the Pacific League and the Central League, respectively.

Roster moves
The Angels recalled Oliver Drake and optioned Miguel Almonte to Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday ahead of their series opener against the Dodgers. To clear a spot for Drake on the 40-man roster, the Angels transferred Jake Jewell (right fibula fracture) to the 60-day disabled list.

Drake, 31, logged a 10.13 ERA over 2 2/3 innings in four appearances for the Angels this season before being designated for assignment last month.

On the mend
Backup catcher Rene Rivera, who underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in May, has progressed to catching bullpen sessions and is inching closer to beginning a rehab assignment. Rivera said he has resumed most baseball activities, though he has yet to run the bases. Rivera, who is on the 60-day disabled list, isn't eligible to return until after the All-Star break.

High heat
With temperatures projected to reach a high of 113 degrees in Anaheim on Friday, the Angels decided to skip many of their usual pregame activities, including team stretch and batting practice.

"There's no doubt we backed off on some of the things we were going to do outside," Scioscia said. "When it gets to this extreme, I think less is more. We'll be ready to play, but we'll get ready inside in the cages."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels

First-round pick OF Adams signs with Angels

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Jordyn Adams, the Angels' first-round Draft selection this year with the No. 17 pick, signed with the club on Tuesday. Adams will start play in the rookie-level Arizona League beginning Wednesday.

Adams, an outfielder, passed on his commitment to the University of North Carolina to play both football and baseball in order to sign with the Angels. MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reported that Adams signed for $4.1 million. The slot value of the pick was $3,472,900. Adams went to Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C., and is originally from Blythewood, S.C.

ANAHEIM -- Jordyn Adams, the Angels' first-round Draft selection this year with the No. 17 pick, signed with the club on Tuesday. Adams will start play in the rookie-level Arizona League beginning Wednesday.

Adams, an outfielder, passed on his commitment to the University of North Carolina to play both football and baseball in order to sign with the Angels. MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reported that Adams signed for $4.1 million. The slot value of the pick was $3,472,900. Adams went to Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C., and is originally from Blythewood, S.C.

His five-day visit to Orange County included an opportunity to go sightseeing in Southern California for the first time.

And, naturally, a visit to In-N-Out Burger was a necessity for a first-time visitor. Adams, however, wasn't all that impressed. "I walked in thinking that it was gonna be a burger I tasted like I've never tasted before," Adams said. "I kinda compared it to all the other burgers I had. It was good, it was just nothing that stuck out like I thought it would be."

Tweet from @jordynadams10: In-N-Out burger: 7 out of 10 😬

His order, the classic No. 1, a double-double, fries and a drink, wasn't enough to overtake his favorite burger spots, Five Guys and Cook Out. Adams does regret, however, not ordering his fries "animal style," something he anticipates rectifying in the future.

"Everyone told me afterward that I got my fries ordered the wrong way -- I should've gotten it 'animal style' instead," Adams said. "It's a learning process. It was my first time there. I'll definitely eat [In-N-Out] more and give a little more of an update."

Video: ARI@LAA: Adams discusses being drafted by the Angels

He can do plenty of that in Arizona, where there are 31 branches of the esteemed burger joint. There, he'll be rooming with the Angels' second-round pick, Jeremiah Jackson, along with two others.

Jackson and Adams have been friendly since they played on the same team in the 2017 Under Armour All-America Game, and that relationship continued when they were teammates in the East Coast Pro showcase the following month. They were, needless to say, excited when they found out they were drafted by the same professional team.

"It was crazy. We hit each other up," Adams said.

Tweet from @Angels: .@jordynadams10: Inked.Welcome to the family and enjoy The Show! pic.twitter.com/bBusCBvbPv

Together, they spoke to reporters at Angel Stadium before Tuesday's game against the D-backs, and they were already finishing each others' sentences.

"Right when it happened," Jackson finished.

"Yeah," Adams continued. "It was like, wow, over the summer we were just talking about ... "

"Rooming together and everything in Arizona," Jackson finished.

Worth noting
The Angels acquired right-hander Deck McGuire from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the club announced Tuesday. McGuire has been optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake. To make room on the 40-man roster, catcher Juan Graterol was designated for assignment.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels

Fletcher impresses in Major League debut

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- It's been quite the week for the Fletcher family.

One day after seeing his younger brother, Dominic, secure a trip to Omaha to play in the College World Series with Arkansas, David Fletcher learned that he'd be heading to Seattle for his first Major League callup with the Angels.

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SEATTLE -- It's been quite the week for the Fletcher family.

One day after seeing his younger brother, Dominic, secure a trip to Omaha to play in the College World Series with Arkansas, David Fletcher learned that he'd be heading to Seattle for his first Major League callup with the Angels.

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"I texted him, 'Congratulations,' and I think he texted me yesterday the same thing," said Fletcher, who started at third base in his MLB debut on Wednesday at Safeco Field vs. the Mariners. "It's an exciting week for both of us."

Fletcher collected his first Major League hit in his second at-bat against Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales during Wednesday's 8-6 loss to the Mariners, delivering a two-run triple to right-center field to cut Seattle's lead to 4-3 in the fourth.

Video: LAA@SEA: Fletcher rips a 2-run triple for 1st MLB hit

"It was good to get out there and get comfortable," Fletcher said. "They kept the ball for me, which is pretty cool. I think I'm going to go give it to my dad."

Fletcher made his presence felt on defense as well, as he tagged out baserunner Jean Segura at the plate for the final out of the seventh inning.

Video: LAA@SEA: Angels get a key out at home after review

The Mariners challenged the ruling, but the call was upheld following a replay review.

"The throw was a little off-line, and I kind of jumped for it," Fletcher said. "I saw Maldonado leave the plate, and I saw Segura take off, so my instincts took over to go cover the plate." 

The Angels decided to recall Fletcher after Jefry Marte suffered a left wrist sprain on Monday night. Fletcher received the good news on Tuesday afternoon while sitting by the pool with his host family in Salt Lake City. After rushing to the airport, Fletcher landed in Seattle around 6 p.m. PT and headed to Safeco Field.

"Obviously, pretty surprised," Fletcher said. "You can't really predict that."

Fletcher, 24, has been one of the top hitters in the Pacific Coast League this season, batting .350 with a .953 OPS, six home runs, five triples and 35 RBIs over 58 games. Fletcher said he worked with Triple-A Salt Lake hitting coach Donnie Ecker to make some tweaks to his swing and his approach at the plate.

"Just some swing adjustments and a little more intent to drive the baseball," Fletcher said. "That's about it."

A native of Orange, Calif., Fletcher was the Angels' sixth-round Draft pick out of Loyola Marymount in 2015. He is ranked the Angels' No. 21 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Calhoun to begin rehab assignment
Right fielder Kole Calhoun, who landed on the disabled list on June 2 with a right oblique strain, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Salt Lake on Wednesday night.

"He's feeling much better, and he's ready to go," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Before the injury, Calhoun had endured a rough start to the season, batting just .145 with a .374 OPS and one home run over 50 games. He had 11 walks and 43 strikeouts over that span. Scioscia said the Angels haven't determined how many rehab games Calhoun will need before being activated.

"I think he's been working on adjustments the whole season, trying to get his swing where he wants it, and I think he feels comfortable with that," Scioscia said. "We just want him to go out there and hit and see how he feels and see how it goes."

Chris Young, Michael Hermosillo and Jabari Blash have split time in right field in Calhoun's absence, but the Angels have struggled to get steady production out of the position this year. Angels right fielders have combined to post a .434 OPS in 2018, the lowest mark in the Majors.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels

Marte (wrist) heads to DL; Fletcher gets callup

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- The Angels placed infielder Jefry Marte on the 10-day disabled list with a left wrist sprain on Tuesday and called up prospect David Fletcher from Triple-A Salt Lake for his first stint in the Majors. To clear a spot for Fletcher on the 40-man roster, the Angels transferred reliever Blake Wood (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.

Fletcher, a 24-year-old infielder who is ranked the club's No. 21 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has been one of the top hitters in the Pacific Coast League this season, batting .350 with a .953 OPS, six home runs, five triples and 35 RBIs over 58 games. He ranks first in the PCL in hits (89), doubles (25) and runs (55) and third in batting average. A native of Orange, Calif., Fletcher was the Angels' sixth-round Draft pick out of Loyola Marymount in 2015.

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SEATTLE -- The Angels placed infielder Jefry Marte on the 10-day disabled list with a left wrist sprain on Tuesday and called up prospect David Fletcher from Triple-A Salt Lake for his first stint in the Majors. To clear a spot for Fletcher on the 40-man roster, the Angels transferred reliever Blake Wood (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.

Fletcher, a 24-year-old infielder who is ranked the club's No. 21 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has been one of the top hitters in the Pacific Coast League this season, batting .350 with a .953 OPS, six home runs, five triples and 35 RBIs over 58 games. He ranks first in the PCL in hits (89), doubles (25) and runs (55) and third in batting average. A native of Orange, Calif., Fletcher was the Angels' sixth-round Draft pick out of Loyola Marymount in 2015.

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"David's come a long way," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He had a great spring for us for a couple years and really put a lot of things together down in Triple-A. He's doing a lot of things well on the baseball field, and hopefully he'll come up here and contribute."

Video: ARI@LAA: Fletcher ties the game with a two-run triple

Fletcher is a natural second baseman, but he can also play shortstop and third base. A right-handed hitter, Fletcher could platoon with Luis Valbuena at third and draw playing time against left-handed pitchers. He did not start on Tuesday, but he could be in the lineup to face Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales on Wednesday.

"I think he will definitely get some looks, especially against some left-handed pitching," Scioscia said. "He can play a number of positions, so he can fit in. We'll take a look. We'll just take a look at things and see where he can get an opportunity to get some looks."

Marte hurt his wrist after Dee Gordon ran into his glove at first base on Monday night and is currently sporting a splint. The 26-year-old corner infielder was batting .262 with a .752 OPS and three home runs in a reserve role this season. Scioscia said the Angels won't have a sense of how long Marte will be sidelined until he is re-examined by the club's doctors in Southern California.

Marte is the 11th Angel to land on the disabled list this season, joining Shohei Ohtani (right UCL sprain), Kaleb Cowart (left ankle sprain), Andrelton Simmons (right ankle sprain), Kole Calhoun (right oblique strain), Rene Rivera (right knee inflammation), Keynan Middleton (Tommy John surgery), Wood, JC Ramirez (Tommy John surgery), Matt Shoemaker (right forearm strain) and Alex Meyer (right labrum surgery).

The Angels also optioned reliever Eduardo Paredes to clear a roster spot for Jaime Barria, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake and started against the Mariners on Tuesday.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Jefry Marte