Notes: Rendon's return; Canning; Mayers

Ohtani has 'no issues' after Tuesday's start

April 21st, 2021

ANAHEIM -- Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon took batting practice and fielded ground balls before Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. Manager Joe Maddon did not rule out the possibility that Rendon could return from his left groin strain this weekend in Houston.

Rendon has been out since April 10, but he has been increasing his workload in each of the last three days. He became eligible to be reinstated from the injured list Wednesday, but he will need at least a few more days before he returns. There remains a chance he might not be ready until the Angels’ series against the Rangers that begins Monday in Texas.

“It’s not impossible [he could return in Houston], but I would say by the time we play Texas, for sure,” Maddon said. “But I’m not ruling out Houston.”

Rendon, 30, was batting .290/.378/.387 with one homer and three RBIs in eight games before being placed on the IL. Luis Rengifo and Jose Rojas have been filling in for him at third.

Maddon is eager to have Rendon back in the lineup, but he said that the training staff is being cautious so that it doesn’t become a lingering issue.

"He's doing really well," Maddon said. "He's getting much better. It's one of those things our group -- our trainers -- want to be a little bit conservative with just to make sure that it's totally fine. It's not going to be reoccurring. I'm getting nothing but positive input back. When I talked to Anthony, he's smiling, there's not that dark look in his face at all. So he's getting really close, I believe.”

Ohtani checks out fine
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani returned to the mound Tuesday, throwing four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and six walks against the Rangers; he reported no issues with the blister on his right middle finger Wednesday. Ohtani remains on track to make his next start, which is tentatively scheduled for Monday against Texas.

“He came through very well,” Maddon said. “No issues today at all. So that’s a good indicator.”

Canning to start Saturday
Right-hander Griffin Canning was used in long relief behind Ohtani on Tuesday, allowing two runs on two hits over 2 1/3 innings, while picking up the win. It was all part of the plan to get Canning some work, as he hadn’t started since April 14. His 30-pitch outing also helped him get ready to start against the Astros on Saturday. Righty Dylan Bundy will start Sunday.

“He knew a couple days before,” Maddon said of Canning’s relief outing. “It also helps set him up to start.”

Mayers picks up where he left off
Reliever Mike Mayers had a breakout year in 2020, posting a 2.10 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 30 innings en route to becoming the club's top setup reliever. He's off to another strong start, as he entered Wednesday with a 0.93 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. He threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Tuesday’s 6-2 win and believes he can continue to improve.

“I’d say it’s been a work in progress still,” Mayers said. “Last night was a step in the right direction. Still working on a few things mechanically. Getting that feel and some mental things.”

Mayers was noticeably irked in Tuesday’s game when Rangers slugger Joey Gallo dropped down an RBI bunt single to beat the shift with a runner on third and two outs. Maddon took the blame for that one, as he said that they shouldn’t have initiated the shift until after the first pitch. Mayers explained that it was in the heat of the moment and he was frustrated that it was an inherited runner charged to Canning that scored.

“I’m ultra-competitive sometimes,” Mayers said. “Just living in the moment. As a reliever, there’s no worse feeling than giving up someone else’s run. Griffin had thrown well to that point. But really, I was just asking [Gallo] where the good spots are on Grubhub in Texas because we’ll be stuck there in a hotel next week. So that’s all that was.”