TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels will be without left fielder Justin Upton early in Spring Training, as he's dealing with right knee patellar tendinitis but is expected to be ready for Opening Day, manager Brad Ausmus said on Monday.The Angels will be cautious with Upton, who will be behind the
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels will be without left fielder Justin Upton early in Spring Training, as he's dealing with right knee patellar tendinitis but is expected to be ready for Opening Day, manager Brad Ausmus said on Monday.
The Angels will be cautious with Upton, who will be behind the rest of the position players early in camp, but it's not considered a major injury. It shouldn't be an issue for Upton to be ready for the regular-season opener on March 28 in Oakland.
"It's going to hold him back, but there's no reason to rush right now," Ausmus said. "So don't be shocked that he's not playing right away."
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In better injury news for the club, right-hander Matt Harvey threw on Sunday and Monday, which is ahead of schedule after he sustained a left glute strain last Wednesday that was expected to keep him out of action for a week and a half.
"He's been cleared, but we still have to progress him a little bit," Ausmus said. "He's not going to jump on the mound today."
Ausmus also said that infielder Zack Cozart will have no restrictions this spring after undergoing surgery on his labrum in his left shoulder in last June, but that the club will be cautious with Albert Pujols early in camp after he had arthroscopic left knee surgery and an operation to clean up bone spurs in his right elbow last August.
Moreno pleased with Eppler
Angels owner Arte Moreno said he's happy with the job that general manager Billy Eppler is doing, but he wouldn't comment on Eppler's contract status, other than to note that the club has an option to retain Eppler for 2020. Eppler was hired in October 2015, and has helped turn around the club's farm system, as it went from being considered the worst in the Majors to among the top 10 in MLB. But the Halos haven't yet made the postseason during Eppler's tenure.
"We're not really in those discussions with him," Moreno said. "Billy's done a good job. His people are doing a great job. We look at three- and five-year periods all the time when we're looking, sometimes from the financial side. We're really looking at three-, five- and seven-year segments, because it's straight economics. They've done a great job. They're always working with people to make sure we're drafting and looking at what's available. It's a positive attitude there."
Ausmus not worried about pitch clock
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said on Sunday that a 20-second pitch clock will be implemented for this year's Spring Training games, and there's a chance there will be during the regular season as well. But Ausmus doesn't the see the potential rule change as much of an issue.
"I don't think it'll be much of a challenge, if it's even implemented," Ausmus said. "I think it's 20 seconds they're talking about. It affects such a small amount. And calling it a pitch clock might be misleading, because sometimes it's the hitter that's taking the time, not the pitcher. The pitcher is sometimes on the rubber and ready to go. I just don't see it being a big deal."
• The Angels held their first full-squad workout on Monday with relievers Cam Bedrosian, Hansel Robles and Taylor Cole throwing bullpen sessions. Position players worked with Ausmus on baserunning drills and took batting practice. Mike Trout hit in the same group as Pujols, Kole Calhoun and Michael Hermosillo.
• Ausmus said he doesn't expect Shohei Ohtani to be ready to play in any Spring Training games. Ohtani said Sunday he's preparing like he's going to be ready to play on Opening Day, but the Angels are targeting May for Ohtani's return date.
Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.