Rendon's latest injury is 'gut-wrenching' for Angels

April 21st, 2024

CINCINNATI -- It was a rough night for the Angels on Saturday, and it started right away with suffering a left hamstring injury on the first play of the game.

Rendon, who has been swinging a hot bat after a slow start to the year, hit a grounder to shortstop Elly De La Cruz and beat out the throw for an infield single but injured his left hamstring while running to first base. Head athletic trainer Mike Frostad and manager Ron Washington met him at first base and he was removed for pinch-runner Zach Neto.

A day later, Rendon was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain, and veteran infielder Ehire Adrianza was selected from Triple-A Salt Lake.

It set the tone in a 7-5 loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park, as left-hander Patrick Sandoval struggled and gave up five runs in the opening frame, including a grand slam to Tyler Stephenson. It’s unclear how much time Rendon will miss but it’s a blow for the Angels, especially considering how well he was doing at getting on base as the club’s leadoff hitter. He’ll be further evaluated by team doctors on Monday when the club returns to Anaheim, according to Washington. Rendon was still in a lot of discomfort after the game.

“[I’m feeling] not too great,” Rendon said. “Frustration. Anger. Mad. Any of those adjectives you want to use."

Rendon, 33, started off his season by going 0-for-19 through his first five games but batted .357/.413/.411 (20-for-56) with three doubles and three RBIs over his last 14 games, including his infield single on Saturday. He had been serving as a catalyst atop the lineup in front of Mike Trout and had been starting to get it going offensively.

“I think that's one of the most frustrating parts, right?” Rendon said. “I'm starting to barrel the ball more, and when I didn’t I was just starting to find holes. Like earlier in the season, I was barreling it and they were catching it. I think that’s the most frustrating part, I was getting into a groove and of course this happens.”

It’s yet another injury for Rendon since he joined the Angels on a seven-year contract worth $245 million before the 2020 season. He played in 52 of the club’s 60 games in 2020 but was limited to 58 of 162 games in 2021, 47 in '22 and 43 in '23. He's earning $38.5 million this year and again in '25 and '26.

In 2021, Rendon missed time with a left groin strain in April, a left knee contusion in May, a strained triceps in June and a left hamstring strain in July, but it's unclear if this injury is similar. He also underwent right hip surgery that August.

Rendon didn’t recall the hamstring injury.

“I have no idea,” Rendon said. “A majority of my career, it’s always been quad. I’ve never really dealt with a hamstring.”

In ‘22, it was his right wrist that required season-ending surgery in June. And last year, Rendon suffered a left groin strain in May before sustaining a season-ending shin contusion on a foul ball in July.

With Rendon out, the Angels called up Adrianza. He was signed to a Minor League deal during Spring Training and is off to a hot start with Triple-A Salt Lake. He went 2-for-4 on Friday and is hitting .349 with a .992 OPS in 14 games with the Bees.

Adrianza can play all four infield spots and could see action at third base along with Luis Rengifo and Miguel Sanó. Brandon Drury also has experience at third, although he hasn’t played it since joining the Angels last year. Rengifo replaced Rendon at third but made a costly throwing error in the first.

Sanó is off to a solid start offensively and nearly helped the Angels come back on Saturday after Sandoval allowed seven runs on six hits and five walks over four-plus innings. Sanó went 3-for-4, including hitting his first homer of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth inning.

Sandoval was frustrated with his outing and said it was tough to see Rendon go down with an injury to start the game.

“It’s gut-wrenching,” Sandoval said. “That guy means a lot to this team. To see him work his way back from all these injuries and the work ethic he has, the passion for the game that he has and the passion he has as a leader for this team and helping everyone here, it's gut-wrenching.”