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Ausmus talks La Stella into attending ASG

Cole joins bullpen again as Barria is optioned to Triple-A
July 4, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Injured Angels infielder Tommy La Stella, who was selected to his first All-Star Game before breaking his right tibia on a foul ball this week, said Wednesday he wasn’t sure he wanted to go to Cleveland for the Midsummer Classic. • All-Star Game presented by Mastercard: Tuesday, 4:30

ARLINGTON -- Injured Angels infielder Tommy La Stella, who was selected to his first All-Star Game before breaking his right tibia on a foul ball this week, said Wednesday he wasn’t sure he wanted to go to Cleveland for the Midsummer Classic.

All-Star Game presented by Mastercard: Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX

A talk later that day with manager Brad Ausmus -- a one-time All-Star with the Tigers in 1999 -- helped convince La Stella to go.

“He should -- he deserved it, he earned it,” Ausmus said. “He won’t be able to play, but he gets to enjoy all the festivities surrounding the game, watch the Home Run Derby, and any of the parties that he can go to. MLB does a nice job of treating the players very well. He’d regret it if he didn’t go experience it.”

La Stella is out eight to 10 weeks with the fracture he sustained on a rather unusual injury Tuesday. He fouled a ball directly off the top of his shin, just under the kneecap. It interrupted a breakout season in which he has already set career highs in hits (85), home runs (16) and RBIs (44). He’s batting .300 in 78 games.

Ausmus said La Stella couldn’t decide what to do next week, given the circumstances.

“He was in between,” Ausmus said. “He’s a pretty humble guy, and he felt like he might be in the way with his crutches and he didn’t want to be a bother. I, hopefully, convinced him that that was not the case at all.”

Reliever Cole recalled; Barria optioned

The Angels on Thursday optioned Wednesday’s starter, Jaime Barria, to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled right-hander Taylor Cole from Salt Lake to give them another arm in the bullpen until after the All-Star break. This is Cole’s fifth stint with the Angels this season. He has a 4.86 ERA in 16 2/3 innings with the Halos in 2019.

Clarity for Cozart?

Infielder Zack Cozart saw Rangers team physician Keith Meister earlier this week for a second opinion on his problematic left shoulder, which has kept him on the injured list since May. He underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum last season, but pain and poor production continued to plague him to start this year. He slashed .124/.178/.144 in 107 plate appearances before going on the IL.

Cozart will undergo more imaging tests on his shoulder Friday with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery last year.

“In talking to [Zack] and reading the report from the doc here, they seem to be narrowing it down to a couple things it could be, and I guess the MRI is to further narrow that down,” Ausmus said. “But it was the first positive information that he had gotten -- a possible solution.”

Worth noting

• As expected, Justin Upton did not start Thursday after he left Wednesday’s game with left quadriceps tightness. The Angels are hopeful he’ll be ready at some point during their three-game series at Houston, which begins Friday.

Albert Pujols was out of the lineup for a second consecutive night Thursday after he fouled a ball off his ankle Tuesday night, but Ausmus said the extra time off wasn’t health-related.

• Right-hander Keynan Middleton, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, will make his first rehab start soon. “It’s in the imminent stages,” Ausmus said. Middleton will make his first start in the Arizona League and then could move to a different affiliate for future rehab starts, Ausmus said.