Notes: Peña out for OD; Quintana still stingy

March 18th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Angels right-hander reliever Félix Peña was diagnosed with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain, which will keep him out of action for two to four weeks, manager Joe Maddon said on Wednesday. It means Peña won’t be ready for Opening Day on April 1 against the White Sox.

Peña suffered the injury while pitching against the Reds on Monday. He was considered to be a lock in the bullpen and lost 15-20 pounds this offseason in an effort to get in better shape for the season. He posted a 4.05 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings last year, developing into a late-game, one-inning reliever after previously being utilized as a starter and long reliever.

“It’s Grade 1, if you’re going to pull it, that’s the one you’re looking for,” Maddon said. “It wasn’t awful, I heard. It could be as little as two weeks. But it’s going to be hard to visualize him being ready for the start of the season.”

With Peña out of the mix, it opens up a spot in the bullpen, where several relievers are competing for a spot. It could bode well for right-hander Aaron Slegers, who dealt with back spasms last week, but pitched in a "B" game on Tuesday. Non-roster right-hander Jake Faria has also pitched well and could serve as a long reliever if he makes the club.

“Obviously, you never want that,” Maddon said of Peña’s injury. “But I still think we’re OK. There are still different ways to get this done. And who knows, maybe at the end of camp, there might be things available from other teams. Félix has been doing really well but I don’t think we’re at a critical stage or anything.”

As Maddon noted, the Angels could still be in the market for relief help this spring, whether it’s a free agent or potentially a waiver claim late in the spring. Angels general manager Perry Minasian said they’re open to outside help when meeting with reporters on Wednesday.

Quintana settles down
Lefty loaded the bases with one out in the first inning after issuing back-to-back walks, but he was able to get out of the jam and pitched much better the rest of the way. Quintana threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and three walks with six strikeouts in a 7-4 win over the Mariners on Wednesday night. He threw 70 pitches.

Quintana, signed to a one-year deal worth $8 million this offseason, has yet to allow a run in 9 2/3 innings in Cactus League play. He’s been pleased with the way he’s been feeling, especially after throwing only 10 innings in 2020 due a cut on his pitching hand suffered while doing dishes and dealing with left lat inflammation.

"I feel really good,” Quintana said. “Today, I felt a little slow in the first inning. My command was off going in to righties. But it was the perfect game to make adjustments. I feel really close to being ready for the start of the season."

Angels make roster cuts
The Angels made their first extensive roster moves of Spring Training, as they reassigned the following players to Minor League camp: left-hander Davis Daniel and righty Denny Brady; catchers Jack Kruger, Keinner Piña and Harrison Wenson; outfielders Brennon Lund and Jordyn Adams; and infielders Jeremiah Jackson and Livan Soto. No. 1 prospect Brandon Marsh was already optioned on Tuesday.

Of that group, Adams (No. 3), Jackson (No. 5), Soto (No. 14), Daniel (No. 20) and Brady (No. 29) are among the club's Top 30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline. Maddon often raved about the potential of Adams and Jackson this camp.

Angels tidbits
• Two-way star Shohei Ohtani served as the leadoff hitter against the Mariners on Wednesday, but Maddon said not to look too deeply into it, as David Fletcher remains the club’s leadoff hitter going forward. It just allowed the red-hot Ohtani to get more at-bats as a designated hitter against the Mariners. Ohtani walked in the first and singled to left in the second before being removed in the fourth inning for Marsh. Ohtani also stole third base as part of a double steal in the second.

• Infielder Franklin Barreto continued his strong spring with a solo homer in the second inning off Mariners right-hander Chris Flexen on Wednesday night. Barreto is competing for the club’s utility role along with Luis Rengifo and Jack Mayfield. Barreto is out of Minor League options, which could give him the leg up in the competition, as he’d have to be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.

• The Angels will not be using a humidor to store baseballs this season, Minasian said. The D-backs, Red Sox, Rockies, Mets and Mariners already store baseballs in a humidor.