SEATTLE – Anthony Rendon’s third season with the Angels has come to a premature end, just as his second did.
The Angels announced on Friday that the third baseman will undergo surgery to repair a tendon of subluxation in his right wrist, which will require four to six months of rehabilitation.
Last year Rendon underwent hip surgery in August that cost him the end of the season.
“We have a great group of guys here and I didn’t want to do it in two years in a row,” Rendon said on Friday. “Last year we were out of it. This year, I love this group of guys, going to battle with them every single day. That’s why I just kept trying to push through it and trying to fight it as best I could, and my body kept saying no. “
Rendon, who is in the third year of a seven-year, $ 235-million deal, has made it through just one season so far, and that was the shortened 2020 season. He has played in just 155 games over three seasons. Although he was 10th in the American League MVP voting in 2020, the past two seasons have been injury-marred disappointments. He hit .235 with a .710 OPS in the two seasons, including .228 with a .707 OPS in 45 games this season.
Rendon said in spring training that he felt like “night and day” when he battled lower body issues that sapped him of his production and playing time in 2021, but he didn’t take long in 2022 before he was even lost this season.
Rendon said he felt pain in his wrist during his third at-bat on May 8, which was the day when his RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning capped a come-from-behind victory against the Washington Nationals, his former team.
Head athletic trainer Mike Frostad said Rendon’s injury was diagnosed early as a tendon subluxation, but there is some precedent for players to be able to play with that condition and have surgery in the offseason.
Rendon played with the condition for a couple of weeks, but it became too much after the May 26 game against the Toronto Blue Jays, which would have resulted in a 14-game losing streak.
Continued treatment yielded good results and Rendon made it back to the lineup last Friday. He said he was “great” during last week’s series against the New York Mets, but “it flared up again” on Tuesday against the Dodgers.
Over the next two days, the Angels and Rendon tried different medications and treatments to get him back on the field.
“Yesterday was the last straw,” Rendon said. “We tried to go through a new routine. It was kind of the last thing we’re gonna try to figure out and see if I was able to play. Before the game. I was trying to see if I could get in the lineup. And then we did some more stuff during the game time, and it just wasn’t happening. “
Rendon also said he didn’t want to keep trying to mask the pain.
“Surgery is the only way it’s going to get fixed,” he said. “There was a point where I kept upping the dosage on the stuff that I was taking. I didn’t feel comfortable with it. “
When the decision was finally made on Thursday night to have a season-ending surgery, it was a crushing blow for a team that has been reeling for a month. The Angels finally had all of their key players back in the lineup on Tuesday, but it didn’t even last the entire game.
“I feel terrible for him,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “He wants to be out here in a bad, bad way. But having (surgery) now, his recovery time is gonna give him a good normal offseason and be ready for next spring. I know how hungry he is going to be next year, without a doubt. If you know Anthony Rendon, he’s going to come back next spring and be more than ready to go. “
In the meantime, the Angels will try to piece things together with Jack Mayfield, Matt Duffy, Tyler Wade and Luis Rengifo. All of them can play third, though none is an everyday third baseman.
Infielder Michael Stefanic, who has consistently been a solid offensive performer in the minors, could provide some help at some point, but he is currently on the injured list at Triple-A.
RESTING THE MVPs
Nevin decided to give Shohei Ohtani the day off on Friday after he pitched six innings on Thursday night. Nevin said he was going to Ohtani and told him he was going to be off, rather than Ohtani saying he needed a break.
The Angels have a doubleheader on Saturday, and Nevin wants Ohtani to be the DH for both games. Nevin said he is also aware of the fact that this season the Angels have no built-in days for Ohtani that provided the schedule when they played in the National League parks last year.
Ohtani played in 63 of the Angels’ first 65 games, starting at pitcher or DH in 61 of them. Nevin said Ohtani is scheduled to pitch next Wednesday, which conveniently comes before the Angels’ next scheduled off day.
By giving Ohtani a day off on Friday, Nevin also had the opportunity to start Mike Trout at DH, which gives Trout the chance to get off his feet a week after he was out with a groin injury.
With Ohtani now set to DH on both games on Saturday, Trout will have to play both games in the center field or sit out one game altogether.
“I’m nervous about firing him up twice tomorrow, but we’ll see how he feels in the morning,” Nevin said.
Nevin conceded that it’s not ideal to sit either player.
“I know how it looks, but for the long term both of those guys are more important for all of us,” Nevin said.
Justin Upton, who was designated for the assignment by the Angels at the end of spring training, coincidentally made his return to the big leagues against the Angels on Friday night. The Mariners, who signed Upton last month, called him up from Triple-A and put him in the lineup on Friday night.
Upton spoke to reporters before the game, and he said he wasn’t surprised the Angels let him go.
“I’m gonna be just raw and honest right now,” Upton said. “Towards the vibe I was a little weird. Being around for so long, I could kind of tell that was probably a possibility. It didn’t come as a surprise. I thought I had a pretty good spring, so I could put what I could out on the table. And the decision was made. “
Upton said the vibe came from “the front office” and not from the coaches.
The Angels have not announced their second game of the pitcher for Saturday’s doubleheader or Sunday’s series finale, but both José Suarez and Kenny Rosenberg were in the clubhouse on Friday. Suarez will start one of the games. …
The Angels also had Matt Thaiss in the clubhouse on Friday as part of the taxi squad. Thaiss has been up part of the taxi squad before, but he has not been active in the big leagues yet this season.
Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 3-2, 2.83 and TBD) at Mariners (RHP Chris Flexen, 2-8, 4.30 and TBD), Saturday, 1:10 pm and 7:10 pm, Bally Sports West, 830 AM.