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Inbox: Ward ticketed for hot corner in 2019?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers questions from Angels fans
August 20, 2018

Who will be playing second base and third base next year? -- @egaz11 via TwitterIf I had to guess, I think Zack Cozart will primarily be playing second base and Taylor Ward will be playing third. I also expect David Fletcher to be in the mix, though he could ultimately

Who will be playing second base and third base next year?
-- @egaz11 via Twitter

If I had to guess, I think Zack Cozart will primarily be playing second base and Taylor Ward will be playing third. I also expect David Fletcher to be in the mix, though he could ultimately end up fitting in as more of a utility player. Ward and Fletcher are both getting extended looks in the infield right now, so I think the final six weeks of the season will be an audition of sorts for their potential roles with the Angels next season.
I also wouldn't rule out the possibility of the Halos exploring potential upgrades at either one of those spots during the offseason, so that could also change the dynamic.
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Alex Meyer hasn't pitched this season after undergoing right shoulder surgery last September, but I think he is expected to be fully recovered by Spring Training. Parker Bridwell should also be back after undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
Matthew Shoemaker made only one start for the Angels this year before going on the disabled list with a right forearm issue, but I think he'll be back before the end of the season and should be ready to go next year. Same goes for Tyler Skaggs and Nick Tropeano, who are both sidelined with less severe ailments.

I don't think it would make sense for the Angels to trade Michael Trout while he's still under contract for two more seasons. He's arguably the best foundational piece a team could ask for, and I think it would be hard to get a return that would adequately match his value. While it's true that the Halos have yet to win a playoff game with Trout, it's not for a lack of effort. The Angels have tried to assemble competitive rosters over the past few years. They just haven't been able to stay healthy.

I think middle infielder Luis Rengifo is close, and he could be among the Angels' September callups since he'll have to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Rengifo, whom the Halos acquired from the Rays in exchange for C.J. Cron in February, has progressed from Class A Advanced Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake this season, batting .305 with an .862 OPS, six home runs, 58 RBIs and 41 stolen bases in 115 games across three Minor League levels. First baseman Matt Thaiss isn't far away, either.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.