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Hamstring strain puts Fletcher's season in doubt

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Angels second baseman David Fletcher departed Sunday's 4-3 win over the Mariners in the first inning with a left hamstring strain, casting doubt on his availability for the final two weeks of his encouraging rookie season.

Fletcher lined a double to right field in his first at-bat against left-hander Marco Gonzales, but he tweaked his hamstring as he was starting to round first base and slowed down as he approached second. Team athletic trainer Adam Nevala and manager Mike Scioscia came out to check on Fletcher, who subsequently departed the game and was replaced by Kaleb Cowart.

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ANAHEIM -- Angels second baseman David Fletcher departed Sunday's 4-3 win over the Mariners in the first inning with a left hamstring strain, casting doubt on his availability for the final two weeks of his encouraging rookie season.

Fletcher lined a double to right field in his first at-bat against left-hander Marco Gonzales, but he tweaked his hamstring as he was starting to round first base and slowed down as he approached second. Team athletic trainer Adam Nevala and manager Mike Scioscia came out to check on Fletcher, who subsequently departed the game and was replaced by Kaleb Cowart.

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"Hopefully it's nothing too serious and I can get back," said Fletcher, who will stay in Southern California to receive treatment while the club embarks on its final road trip of the year to Oakland and Houston.

Scioscia sounded less optimistic about Fletcher's chances of returning before the end of the season. With only 12 games left to play, the calendar simply isn't on his side.

"He'll be evaluated tomorrow, but naturally, anytime you tweak a hamstring with two weeks to go in the season, it's not good," Scioscia said. "We'll wait for our medical department to look at it and see where we are."

Even if Fletcher is unable to play again this season, the 24-year-old has made the most of his extended look in the Majors, batting .275 with a .679 OPS over 80 games and settling in as the Angels' No. 2 hitter over the last month.

The performance has set Fletcher up to potentially vie for a starting job in the Angels' infield in 2019. The Angels are projected to have vacancies at second and third base next season, one of which is expected to be filled by Zack Cozart, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery earlier this year. Fletcher has certainly made his case for the other.

"He's definitely put his best foot forward," Scioscia said. "He's had this opportunity to play every day. I don't think you're going to make a determination of where a guy's career is going to be based on 300 at-bats, but there's no doubt that David Fletcher has shown that he's not intimidated or overmatched by anything happening on the baseball field. That really bodes well for his future."

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

Los Angeles Angels, David Fletcher