The Angels have placed concussed third baseman Yunel Escobar on the seven-day disabled list, recalled third bagger Kaleb Cowart from Triple-A Salt Lake, activated first baseman C.J. Cron from the DL, and designated second baseman Johnny Giavotella for assignment, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link).
Escobar suffered his injury on a fourth-inning bunt attempt against the Yankees on Friday. The ball went off Escobar’s bat and hit him in the face, causing him to leave early.
“We’re going to take it one step at a time, but (the DL) is a possibility,” manager Mike Scioscia said afterward (via Steve Dilbeck of the Associated Press).
Escobar has enjoyed his second straight quality offensive season, having posted a .320/.368/.402 batting line through 479 plate appearances. He’s playing on a $7MM salary this year and has a $7MM club option for 2017, which either makes him an affordable option for the Angels or a potential trade candidate. With the end of August drawing nearer, a concussion issue won’t help the Angels’ cause if they’re willing to deal Escobar, though there’s no word on whether that’s the case. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Thursday that Escobar, 33, drew interest prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.
Taking Escobar’s place on the roster will be Cowart, whom MLBTR’s Jason Martinez highlighted in his “Knocking Down the Door” series earlier this week. As Martinez noted, Cowart had been swinging a red-hot bat in the minors prior to his call-up and has the ability to play a handful of positions. The 24-year-old has collected just 58 major league plate appearances since the Angels selected him 18th overall in the 2010 draft. He peaked as Baseball America’s 60th-ranked prospect after the 2012 season.
Cron, meanwhile, is returning after landing on the DL on July 8 with a fractured left hand that occurred on a hit by pitch. Cron has been one of the few bright spots for the club, slashing .280/.331/.479 with 11 home runs over 283 plate appearances. That represents nice progress for the 26-year-old, who had only been a slightly above-average hitter in his two previous seasons. Cron also recorded career-best rates in walks (6 percent) and strikeouts (14.5 percent) prior to the injury.
Although he has logged 869 plate appearances with the Angels since last season, Giavotella’s playing time had been dwindling lately in favor of Cliff Pennington and Gregorio Petit, Fletcher wrote Thursday.
“Johnny is a good player,” Scioscia told Fletcher. “But those guys have jumped up and won more playing time.”
The 29-year-old Giavotella is making just over the league minimum and is scheduled for his first trip through arbitration during the upcoming offseason. He has hit .260/.287/.376 with six homers in 367 plate appearances this season and owns a similar .256/.295/.361 line in 1,334 major league PAs.