Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon might be back on the active roster and in the starting lineup to face the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night in Anaheim, Calif., in the opener of a three-game series.
Rendon hasn't played since May 13 because of a strained groin. It's the latest injury-related absence that has become the norm in his Angels' tenure, which began in 2020 after he signed a seven-year, $245 million free-agent contract.
Even when healthy, Rendon has not been nearly the player he was with the Nationals, for whom he played his first seven major league seasons.
While in Washington, he was an All-Star, ranked in the top six in National League MVP voting three times, led the league in doubles twice and led the majors in RBIs in 2019.
In four years with the Angels, Rendon has not played in more than 58 games in any season.
His return will create an interesting dilemma for Angels manager Phil Nevin. Gio Urshela, who has filled in for Rendon at third base, is playing good defense and ranks fourth in the American League with a .310 batting average.
Rendon likely will take the roster spot of reserve infielder Livan Soto, but the Angels also could look to promote infielder David Fletcher soon. Fletcher was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake in mid-April when the club promoted shortstop Zach Neto from Double-A Rocket City.
Fletcher has played well for Salt Lake, hitting .347 with 21 RBIs in 35 games.
"He's been doing well," Nevin said. "Obviously, we know what he can do defensively. And offensively, he's putting the ball in play, and he's right around the Fletch we've always seen. There's a lot of good things he's doing there, and the coaching staff says he's been a great teammate and has done what he's needed to do."
Left-hander Tyler Anderson (2-1, 5.47 ERA) will take the mound for Los Angeles on Tuesday to make his 11th start of the season. He is coming off his first loss, when he gave up six runs on six hits and two walks in four innings against the Chicago White Sox on May 30.
Anderson is 4-3 with a 3.90 ERA in nine career starts against the Cubs.
Right-hander Hayden Wesneski (2-2, 4.81) will make his ninth start (10th appearance) for the Cubs on Tuesday. He has never faced the Angels. His latest outing was his lone relief appearance, when he gave up one run in 3 2/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
Miguel Amaya is the Cubs' third-string catcher but is looking to make the most of his opportunities. He was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Saturday, then hit his first major league home run on Sunday.
It's his second stint on the big league roster this season, as he got into six games in early May. He went 3-for-3 with the homer on Sunday and then went 0-for-3 on Monday as Chicago lost 5-0 to the host San Diego Padres. Overall, Amaya is hitting .316 (6-for-19).
"He proved that he was able to handle the opportunities he was given," Cubs manager David Ross said. "He handled the pitching staff really well, so we're just giving him another opportunity to come in, continue to get big league seasoning, be around an environment with a lot of winners here ,and just continue to have his career grow and help us win ballgames. I think that's what it boils down to."
--Field Level Media