Notes: Rendon ready, Canning faces setback

Iglesias arrives to camp; Gil to be first-base coach; Suzuki signs

March 16th, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon had an injury-marred 2021 campaign that saw him undergo season-ending right hip surgery in early July, but he said on Wednesday that he’s completely healthy and ready for this season.

Rendon, who also was bothered by a groin strain in April, a foul ball off his knee in early May and a left hamstring strain in early July, said he was cleared for baseball activity in November and has had no issues since then.

“They let me start swinging 12 weeks out and I was rotating, which was good,” Rendon said. “I think that’s the earliest I’ve ever started hitting in an offseason in November. And then I got on the treadmill and I was full speed by like January. And it gave me the confidence just knowing that I was recovering based on how I felt the next day.”

Rendon, 31, was limited to 58 games last year, batting .240/.329/.382 with six homers and 34 RBIs. He explained he dealt with his hip injury throughout the season and it affected his swing at the plate.

"I was not even able to rotate my hips,” Rendon said. “And if you look back at the highlights over the last two years, my back leg doesn't move. It doesn't rotate. You know they always [tell you] to squash the bug. I never had that. I didn't know why. I knew something was wrong even though every MRI and CT scan was clean. But I was feeling this pain for a reason, so I had to dig in deeper and find out what was going on."

Rendon, who signed a seven-year deal worth $245 million before the 2020 season, is expected to be a major part of the offense this year along with superstars Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. But the trio played in just 17 games together due to injuries last season, so all three must prove they can stay healthy this year.

"You're trying to play as many games as possible and be healthy, and if we're all out there at the same time, I think obviously it will be better," Rendon said. "So hopefully that can happen this year."

Canning suffers setback
Right-hander Griffin Canning, who was set to compete for the sixth spot in the rotation, suffered a setback with his lower back strain while throwing a bullpen session a month ago and is expected to miss the start of the season. Canning, who missed most of last year with the injury, is scheduled to start playing catch in about a week but won’t throw off a mound again for four weeks. 

"They just basically said I reaggravated it," Canning said. "I just had to take a couple steps back and my rehab and then I'll have to build it back up and go from there.” 

Jaime Barría and Reid Detmers are now the top two candidates for that sixth spot, although others such as Janson Junk, Packy Naughton and Jhonathan Diaz are also in the mix.

Iglesias arrives to camp
Closer Raisel Iglesias was the final Angels player to arrive to camp, as he didn’t report until Wednesday after attending to an undisclosed personal matter. But Iglesias is healthy and is expected to be ready for the start of the season.

Gil to be first-base coach
The Angels announced their coaching staff last week, but were still determining if they were going to make an outside hire for their first-base coach position or hire from within. Benji Gil was already announced as the club’s quality assurance coach, but he will now be the first-case coach. The Angels are exploring who will be their primary outfield coach this season or if they’ll use a combination of Ray Montgomery and Gil.

Suzuki signing becomes official
Catcher Kurt Suzuki arrived to Angels camp on Wednesday after his one-year deal worth $1.175 million became official. Suzuki, 38, batted .224/.294/.342 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 72 games last season.

“He's one of those guys that changes teams,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said. “I know it's tough to see that from the outside. But I think if you asked every single guy in that locker room there, they're beyond excited to have him back.”