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Notes: Rendon iffy for opener; Trout's plan

@RhettBollinger
July 20, 2020

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon is still experiencing oblique soreness and might not be ready to return by Opening Day on Friday, manager Joe Maddon said before the team’s exhibition game Monday against the Padres. Rendon, who suffered the injury on a swing during an intrasquad game on Wednesday, was

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon is still experiencing oblique soreness and might not be ready to return by Opening Day on Friday, manager Joe Maddon said before the team’s exhibition game Monday against the Padres.

Rendon, who suffered the injury on a swing during an intrasquad game on Wednesday, was held out of the lineup at San Diego on Monday. Rendon has maintained he feels fine, but with the Angels’ regular-season opener at Oakland just a few days away, Maddon is preparing a Plan B in case Rendon can’t go. That includes David Fletcher or Matt Thaiss at third. Thaiss started at third base on Monday, but Fletcher is more likely to be the starter there on Opening Day if Rendon can’t go.

“He’s a little sore right now,” Maddon said of Rendon via Zoom. “He’s going to be slow for the next couple of days. Don’t know where that puts him in regard to the end of the week. Needs a couple of days to get that out of there.”

Maddon added that he’s not sure whether Rendon will need a stint on the 10-day injured list or whether there’s a chance he’s back after a few days if he misses the opener. It’s a fluid situation the Angels will continue to monitor, as Rendon is one of the club’s most important players after signing a seven-year deal to join the club in the offseason.

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“All I know is that he’s sore today,” Maddon said. “Those types of injuries are so unpredictable, and I really don’t like to give finish lines for injuries. All In know is he’s more sore today, and with that, he really had to back off his work.

“On the surface, it would appear he’ll have to be pushed back. Knowing him, he’ll want to play that first game. I can’t tell you for sure he’ll be out of it yet. He’s very motivated. He just has to get past the soreness.”

Rendon isn’t the only Angels player dealing with an injury. Infielder Luis Rengifo has hamstring soreness and also might not be ready for the start of the season. It hurts the team’s infield depth, and it could thrust Thaiss into a more prominent role early or force Tommy La Stella to see more action at first base than second. Maddon will have to be creative, but Fletcher appears to be the top option to fill in for Rendon if he’s out.

“There’s a couple of moving parts, you could see Fletch over there, could see Matt Thaiss there. Those are probably two hottest options,” Maddon said. “We just haven’t decided because Rengifo being hurt is part of that equation. I’m considering Fletch if Rendon can’t play.”

Trout’s summer plan
Maddon said he hasn’t heard much from superstar Mike Trout about any concerns related to COVID-19 after Trout expressed some trepidation early in Summer Camp about playing this season. Trout’s wife, Jessica, is pregnant with their first child. Trout was in the lineup on Monday, but Maddon said he hasn’t heard anything that would indicate him deciding not to play this year.

“When we first got here, we had an original conversation addressing his concerns,” Maddon said. “Frankly, he’s been better about things. Hasn’t really asked me a lot of questions. But we’ve addressed the topic twice in group Zoom meetings, so we’re constantly communicating about it via Zoom. On a personal level, we’ve had one ‘getting into it’ type conversation. Otherwise it’s been more baseball related.”

Maddon, though, said he hasn’t been told the plan for Trout to attend the birth of the child. Trout’s wife is due in August.

“He may know, but I don’t know it,” Maddon said.

Up next
Right-hander Félix Peña is set to start against the Dodgers on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. The game, scheduled for 6:40 p.m. PT, is available on MLB.TV. Peña is competing for a spot as the club’s sixth starter but is expected to serve in a swing role once right-hander Julio Teheran joins the rotation. Prospect Josiah Gray is scheduled for the Dodgers.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.