The 21-year-old right-hander is the logical candidate to fill the vacancy in the Angels' rotation left by the injured Shohei Ohtani, who was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will be shut down for at least three weeks after receiving both platelet-rich plasma and stem-cell injections on Thursday in Los Angeles. Ohtani will be re-evaluated in three weeks, but Barria figures to get an extended look in the interim.
"I think Jaime has definitely pitched himself onto our depth chart from spring," manager Mike Scioscia said on Monday. "He did perform well here, so we're encouraged at how much he's grown, where he is right now and how much he'll help us this year. There's no doubt, he's pitched his way into more looks for us."
The Angels have often used a six-man rotation this season to accommodate Ohtani's once-a-week pitching schedule and give the rest of their starters extra rest, but Ohtani's injury has winnowed their pitching depth, making a return to a standard five-man rotation more likely. Still, Scioscia didn't rule out the possibility of occasionally carrying an extra starter to guard against fatigue in the rotation.
"I think there are definitely some things to look at," Scioscia said. "This week and next week we have two off-days, which helps to accomplish the same thing. But there are going to be times where we would consider adding a guy because I think the rest of the guys have pitched at a higher level with the added rest here or there."
Garrett Richards (3.26 ERA), Tyler Skaggs (3.08 ERA) and Andrew Heaney (3.12 ERA) are among the Angels' starters who have struggled with injuries in the past, but they've managed to stay healthy and flourish this year. Since May 1, the Angels' rotation has posted a 2.74 ERA, the best in the American League.
"I don't think it's anything that hasn't been contemplated before," Scioscia said of the six-man rotation. "It's just trying to do it and executing it is tougher than just putting in on paper and saying, 'This is what we're going to do.' Some organizations are going to have the depth to be able to do it, and sometimes you're not. We had a lot of guys, especially with Shohei coming into the rotation, where it made a lot of sense. It still makes a lot of sense."
Blash up, Hermosillo down The Angels recalled outfielder Jabari Blash on Monday and optioned outfielder Michael Hermosillo to Triple-A Salt Lake. Blash started in right field against the Mariners in Monday night's series opener at Safeco Field.
Blash, 28, is batting .324 with a 1.166 OPS, 18 home runs and 44 RBIs in 47 games with Salt Lake this year.
"Jabari is swinging the bat very well down there and we wanted to give him a look with some left-handed pitchers coming up," Scioscia said.
Simmons progressing Shortstop Andrelton Simmons (Grade 2 right ankle sprain) has resumed throwing and hitting off a tee, though he is not yet running. Simmons landed on the disabled list on June 6, but the Angels have not provided a timetable for his return.
"He's made a lot of improvement the last couple days," Scioscia said. "He's starting to get into some baseball activities, which is good. It's just the beginning stages, but he's moving in the right direction."