Soto to have surgery on right knee

Angels catcher will be out four to six weeks

May 19th, 2016

ANAHEIM -- Veteran catcher Geovany Soto has a torn meniscus in his right knee that will require surgery, putting him out roughly four to six weeks and lengthening the Angels' disabled list to 10 players.

Jett Bandy was called up from Triple-A to fill Soto's roster spot Wednesday, and Carlos Perez is expected to get the majority of the playing time behind the plate moving forward.

Soto's right knee bothered him a bit during Tuesday's Freeway Series game at Dodger Stadium, but he showed up to the ballpark planning to play Wednesday. His knee then locked up while he rode the elliptical early in the afternoon, then again as he walked to the trainer's room, prompting an MRI that showed surgery was necessary.

"It sucks," Soto said. "It's one of those things you really wanted to not have at all. I take pride on being in shape, just to give a better chance on my knees and my legs. It's one of those things where God has a plan. I thought I did everything in my power to stay healthy. I'm in great shape, I'm working really hard. It's just one of those things where it's bad luck."

Soto was signed to a one-year, $2.8 million contract over the offseason and was batting a solid .283/.338/.483 through his first 20 games, making him the starter over Perez behind the plate. The 33-year-old Soto had surgery on his right knee in 2014, two years after surgery to his left knee, and missed nearly four months.

But the 2014 injury was a medial tear; the latest is a lateral tear, which comes with a shorter recovery time. Soto will have the surgery Thursday, a procedure that will shave a flap tear that is blocking his range of motion and shouldn't last much longer than 20 minutes.

Soto said it's "nothing even compared to what happened before."

Perez entered Wednesday batting only .176/.238/.230 in 24 games, but began the season looking like the everyday catcher because the Angels are impressed by his defense.

"I'm ready for anything," Perez said. "If I have to play every day, I'll play."

Bandy, ranked No. 23 in the Angels' system by, was batting .274/.314/.411 for Triple-A Salt Lake and had thrown out 48.1 percent of would-be basestealers, the fourth-highest percentage among Minor League catchers with at least 25 attempts.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia believes Bandy was "catching at a very high level down there" and has "come a long way at the plate."

The Angels' DL includes three starting pitchers (Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney and C.J. Wilson), two left fielders (Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry), the shortstop (Andrelton Simmons), the utility infielder (Cliff Pennington), the closer (Huston Street), the long reliever (Cory Rasmus) and, now, the primary catcher. Not included is Tyler Skaggs, who is recovering from August 2014 Tommy John surgery and is on the Minor League DL.

"It's part of the gig," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. "You have to navigate that 162-game schedule and get through the season."