ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Julio Teheran still hasn’t arrived at camp, but manager Joe Maddon provided some optimism on Thursday.
Maddon hasn’t been able to disclose much about Teheran’s absence because of MLB protocols, but the manager said there’s a chance Teheran could be in camp before the start of the season. The Angels begin exhibition games on Monday, and Opening Day is set for July 24 at Oakland.
"There's a chance in the near future, but I don't have any specific dates,” Maddon said. “It's trending in the right direction."
Teheran told ESPN Deportes last week that he was exposed to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 but was hopeful to be in camp by last weekend. That didn’t happen, but his arrival would be huge for the Angels and their pitching depth.
Teheran, 29, was signed to a one-year deal in the offseason and was considered to be a lock for the rotation. With him out, the rotation is now composed of Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy, Griffin Canning and Matt Andriese, with Shohei Ohtani starting once a week. Félix Peña and Jaime Barria are competing for the sixth spot in the rotation.
Once he’s ready, Teheran will join the rotation. Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway believes he can provide a big boost, as he always liked what he saw from Teheran when the right-hander was with the Braves. Teheran has a career 3.67 ERA in nine seasons with Atlanta and served as the Braves' Opening Day starter for six straight seasons, 2014-19.
“When he's not here, you know that he is doing everything he possibly can under any circumstance to try and be as ready as he possibly can,” Callaway said. “We saw it in Spring Training. He came in, from Day 1, he looked outstanding. And I have a feeling that's going to be the case again when we finally get to see him. So I'm not really worried about Juli because he's such a professional and he's been doing this for so long.”
Ohtani to pitch Sunday
Ohtani’s next mound work in intrasquad action is scheduled to come on Sunday, which means it’s likely that he’ll pitch on Sundays during the season. The Angels have three off-days on Mondays, which would give Ohtani a day of rest without missing a game as a designated hitter. Maddon said Ohtani will not serve as DH on the day before or after he starts on the mound.
• Infielder Luis Rengifo arrived at camp on Wednesday and participated in the intrasquad game Thursday. The game featured mostly position players who were late to camp and needed extra at-bats, including Jared Walsh, Brandon Marsh, Matt Thaiss and Rengifo. Maddon said it’s important to get them up to speed. The manager talked with Rengifo on Wednesday.
"I talked to him in the dugout … and he was all ready to rock and roll,” Maddon said. “He's such a good kid. But when you're late and you're not caught up, I don't want to push it at all. Let them just go at a slower pace, and when they're ready, they're ready."
• Maddon said the Angels are still discussing how many pitchers they will carry on their 30-man roster to open the season, adding that he anticipates it being 16 to 17 pitchers. He said they’re still likely to carry six starters.
• The Angels were one of several clubs to use openers last season, but Maddon said their initial plan right now is not to use openers. He said it could change if there’s an injury or a starter is scratched but that they plan to use their starters in the traditional way.