Angels third baseman David Freese was hit by a pitch from Minnesota’s Mike Pelfrey tonight and will be placed on the disabled list with a fractured in his hand, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Gonzalez further clarifies that it’s a fractured index finger for Freese. The finger is already in a splint, which Freese will have to wear for at least the next two weeks (Twitter links). Freese’s hope is that he can return within three weeks.
The loss of Freese comes on the heels of a report from Gonzalez that the Angels, who are looking for help at the leadoff spot and in the middle of the order, are slightly prioritizing a power bat over a top-of-the-order catalyst. Freese and his roughly league-average production have occupied the five spot in the Halos’ lineup for much of the season, but according to Gonzalez, they were already interested in adding a bat, possibly in left field, that could move into that spot and push Freese down the lineup. One would imagine, then, that the loss of Freese only serves to enhance the club’s desire to add an authoritative presence behind Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the heart of the order.
Gonzalez and the OC Register’s Jeff Fletcher both reported today that the Angels, who previously had been said to prefer controllable bats, have now warmed to the idea of adding rental players. Fletcher added that beyond that openness, the club is now considering right-handed bats after previously preferring lefty hitters.
The Angels do have a fairly Major League ready replacement in Kyle Kubitza. The 25-year-old prospect was acquired from the Braves this winter and is hitting .276/.346/.446 at Triple-A this season. His first taste of Major League action earlier in the year didn’t go particularly well, though, and while the Angels hope that he’s their third baseman of the future, it’s not certain that they’re willing to hand him a significant role in the midst of a pennant race while Freese mends. He could be a short-term stopgap, but adding a player that’s at least capable of playing third base would seem to be a reasonable target for the Halos.
The Angels have been linked to outfield bats such as Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Ben Revere and Gerardo Parra, though I personally wonder if the injury to Freese will lead to interest in players capable of handling multiple infield spots. Ben Zobrist’s name is popular on this year’s trade market, but someone such as Juan Uribe of the Braves strikes me as a logical target. Uribe could fill in at third base in the short term and, upon Freese’s return, could potentially be an offensive upgrade at second base in the event that Johnny Giavotella’s recent offensive struggles continue.