TEMPE, Ariz. -- On his first swing of Opening Day last year, Ben Revere swung hard at a slider from Braves ace Julio Teheran and felt something on his right side. Revere initially dismissed the discomfort as a cramp, but it continued to bother him. The pain only intensified after
TEMPE, Ariz. -- On his first swing of Opening Day last year, Ben Revere swung hard at a slider from Braves ace Julio Teheran and felt something on his right side. Revere initially dismissed the discomfort as a cramp, but it continued to bother him. The pain only intensified after he fouled off a fastball in his next at-bat, forcing him to exit the game early.
An MRI revealed that Revere, then with the Nationals, had torn his right oblique, which caused some internal bleeding and landed the veteran outfielder on the disabled list. Revere received a platelet-rich plasma injection, and rested for 14 days before returning to action.
In retrospect, Revere wishes he would have given his body more time to heal.
"I definitely came back too soon," said Revere, who signed with the Angels on a one-year, $4 million deal this offseason. "I was never the same. It kind of messed up my swing. I didn't feel the same for the rest of the year."
Revere, 28, experienced the worst season of his career in 2016, hitting only .217 with a .560 OPS over 103 games. It was a significant dip from Revere's usual production -- over seven seasons in the Major Leagues, Revere has batted .285 with a .662 OPS.
As he struggled to play through the injury, Revere lost his starting role with the Nationals and saw his confidence erode as the 2016 season progressed.
"It was to a point where I could not find hits to save my life," Revere said. "I had a bunch of games where I hit the ball hard three times and they were caught by guys. It was just really frustrating. Baseball is all about confidence, and my confidence was just way down because the harder I tried, the worse I went down."
When the offseason arrived, Revere finally got a chance to rest. He worked with a physical therapist in Kentucky, and estimated that he went 75 days without picking up a bat. When he resumed swinging in late December, Revere finally felt back to normal.
The Nationals non-tendered Revere in early December, but he got another chance with the Angels, who signed him three weeks later. He enters the season as the club's fourth outfielder, behind starters Cameron Maybin, Michael Trout and Kole Calhoun. Revere, who is capable of playing all three outfield spots, will give the Angels a high-contact bat from the left side, as well as a base-stealing threat coming off the bench.
Revere said he's simply grateful for the opportunity, and ready to rebound from his disappointing showing last season.
"That's past me," Revere said. "Another year, a new team. I feel great. It feels good to play, so hopefully I'll come back, find some hits and stay healthy for the rest of the year."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.