The Los Angeles Angels hope to receive a boost in the return of third baseman Anthony Rendon when they kick off a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday at Anaheim, Calif.
Rendon strained the triceps muscle on his right arm Monday when diving for a ball in Oakland. He did not play Tuesday or Wednesday, but the hope is he will avoid a trip to the injured list and get back in the lineup as soon as Thursday or Friday.
Without Rendon, the Angels were swept during a three-games series with the Athletics.
“He’s better than we thought or expected,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He went through a couple tests outside with the trainers. We expect him to be out a couple days, which is good news. I guess it was a mild strain of sorts. … That’s the initial report.”
Avoiding the injured list would be the first lucky break Rendon has received this season. He’s already spent time sidelined twice, once with a strained groin and once with a knee contusion.
The lack of consistent playing time, and the absence of Mike Trout in the lineup (calf strain), has contributed to Rendon having what has so far been the worst season of his career. His batting average (.241) and on-base percentage (.314) would be career lows.
Right-hander Shohei Ohtani (2-1, 2.85 ERA) will make his 10th start of the season for Los Angeles. He’s coming off a no-decision in his last start against Arizona, in which he allowed two runs in five innings, striking out eight and walking two.
Ohtani has made one career start in 2018 against Detroit, getting a no-decision after giving up one run and three hits in five innings.
Right-hander Matt Manning will start on the mound for the Tigers, making his major league debut. Manning is highly touted — he’s the organization’s No. 3-ranked prospect — but struggled a bit after his promotion to Triple-A this season.
He went 1-3 with an 8.07 ERA in seven starts for the Toledo Mud Hens and had particular trouble with the long ball, giving up 11 home runs in 32 1/3 innings. Manning, though, said his time with the Mud Hens was time well spent, learning how to use his pitching repertoire.
“I learned how to pitch inside,” he said. “I learned about landing my breaking balls, being a little more fine towards the edges, knowing when to expand the zone, when throwing too many strikes is sometimes a bad thing.
“I think for the most part, I threw strikes. The quality of strikes was better in some innings, sometimes it fell off. Those are things you get away with in the lower levels. The Triple-A hitters are real; they made me pay for it, and it made me better.”
Manning was selected ninth overall in the first round of the 2016 MLB draft.
The 23-year-old, who stands 6-foot-6, is the son of Rich Manning, who at 6-foot-11 played in 55 NBA games in the mid-1990s for the Vancouver Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers.
Detroit has won three straight.
–Field Level Media