Cozart out of lineup vs. Orioles righty

May 10th, 2019

BALTIMORE -- Angels manager Brad Ausmus left infielder Zack Cozart out of his starting lineup Friday against the Orioles in Los Angeles’ first game facing a righty starter since Cozart’s return from the injured list.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Cozart will be reduced to a platoon hitter against lefties, even as Ausmus’ other options continue to produce.

“He’ll play tomorrow [against Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy],” Ausmus said. “So, it’s still kind of to be determined. It goes back to what I said, it all comes down to performance. We’re here to win games.”

After missing nearly two weeks with a neck strain, Cozart returned Tuesday against the Tigers, who started lefties in all three games of their series against the Angels in Detroit. He picked up a hit in each game.

He was 3-for-27 prior to his IL stint, and entered Friday posting a .132/.169/.158 line. Infielders Andrelton Simmons and David Fletcher continue to post high averages, and Tommy La Stella leads the club with nine homers (tied with Kole Calhoun) and 23 RBIs.

Over his career, Cozart is a .248/.301/.401 hitter who plays above-average defense and can handle second base, shortstop or third base.

“It is a little bit difficult, because you want him to get back to the Zack Cozart that he was, but you still have to win games,” Ausmus said. “He actually swung the bat pretty well. Hit some balls in Detroit. He’s moving in the right direction. He’s just not playing today.”

Closer, but not that close

Ausmus said JC Ramirez (Tommy John surgery) threw about 35 pitches -- roughly two innings -- in a simulated game on Thursday, but downplayed the idea he could be nearing a Minor League rehab assignment.

“He’s at the controlled throwing stage,” Ausmus said.

The right-hander has been targeting a June return after undergoing surgery in April of 2018.