APRIL 29: Street has indeed been placed on the disabled list, the club announced. No timeline for his return was provided, and a corresponding roster move will be made today.
APRIL 28: Angels closer Huston Street was unavailable during last night’s game, and he revealed to reporters following the contest that he suffered a strained oblique muscle while playing catch on the outfield grass earlier in the evening (via Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times). Street said that his best guess is that the injury will force him to the disabled list.
Street didn’t give a specific timeline for his recovery, but it’s fair to expect Street to miss anywhere from three to six weeks with the issue based on similar injuries to other players in the past. As MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez notes, teammate Mike Morin missed six weeks with an oblique strain last season, though Matt Shoemaker’s three-week absence in 2014 represents an example of someone coming in on the lower end of that spectrum. More recently, the Royals were without Jarrod Dyson for nearly seven weeks due to a Grade II oblique strain. The Angels haven’t announced the specific nature of the strain, though DiGiovanna and Gonzalez note that the injury was confirmed by a post-game MRI. Street said he’ll first take 72 hours to rest the injury before doctors determine a specific timeline
Right-hander Joe Smith stepped up in Street’s absence last night, nailing down a save with a scoreless ninth inning. He allowed just one hit and needed only eight pitches to tally his first save of the season. Smith is the clear top setup man in manager Mike Scioscia’s bullpen and also accumulated 20 saves from 2014-15 during times when Street was unavailable for injury or other reasons, so he’s the obvious choice to occupy the ninth inning while Street is on the shelf. Smith has had some difficulty with his control early in the season, which has perhaps contributed to an early diminished strikeout rate. While the struggles may not be immediately apparent when looking at his numbers — Smith has issued just one walk this season, and it was intentional — he’s hit four batters and thrown a first-pitch strike to a career-worst 49 percent of the batters he’s faced this season. Notably, he start off two of the three batters he faced last night with a strike, and he was at 64.5 percent in that regard from 2014-15, so the issue is probably not much to get concerned about.
Street is in the first season of a two-year, $18MM extension to which he agreed prior to the 2015 season. He’s making $8MM this season and $9MM in 2017, and the Angels hold a $10MM option (with a $1MM buyout) on the 2018 campaign. Smith, meanwhile, is in the final season of a three-year, $15.75MM contract that has worked out quite well for the Halos. In his two-plus seasons in Anaheim, he’s given the Angels 152 innings of 2.66 ERA ball, averaging 7.7 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings to go along with a robust 54.6 percent ground-ball rate. While the month or so worth of saves won’t dramatically alter Smith’s free-agent stock this coming winter, the fact that he could hit the market with 20 to 30 saves under his belt over the previous three seasons could give him a mild bump in terms of earning capacity.
Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes that right-handers Al Alburquerque and Cam Bedrosian are the likeliest candidates to be recalled from Triple-A if and when Street is officially placed on the disabled list.