The Angels have designated outfielder Peter Bourjos and righty Chris Stratton for assignment, per a club announcement. They’ll make way for a trio of newly activated players: designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, infielder Zack Cozart, and reliever Cody Allen. Infielder Luis Rengifo was optioned out for active roster space.
Notably, it sounds as though Ohtani will step in as the Angels’ everyday designated hitter, regardless of whether the team is facing a right- or left-handed starter (Twitter link via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times), which will cut into the playing time of both Justin Bour and Albert Pujols. Ohtani is in the lineup hitting third tonight, and if he can come anywhere near last season’s .285/.361/.64 slash line, he’ll provide a massive boost.
Bourjos, 32, had a homecoming of sorts when he signed a minor league pact with the Angels this offseason. The Halos selected him in the 10th round of the 2005 draft, and he made his big league debut with the club a half decade later when he emerged in 2010. His playing time in his second stint with his original organization was sparse, however, and Bourjos ultimately hit just .091/.109/.144 in 46 trips to the plate.
Stratton, meanwhile, was acquired in Spring Training in the hopes of providing another arm in a perennially injured rotation mix, but the former Giants first-rounder has struggled enormously in his brief tenure with the Angels. In 29 1/3 innings, Stratton has been tattooed for 28 runs on 43 hits (six home runs) and 18 walks with 22 strikeouts. He’s out of minor league options, so the Angels didn’t have the choice of simply sending him to Triple-A.
The Angels will have a week to trade, release or outright Bourjos and Stratton, though the former isn’t likely to generate much trade interest. If the Angels hope to keep him in the organization in Triple-A, they can send Bourjos through outright waivers, though a veteran with his service time has the right to reject any such assignment. That’s not the case with Stratton, so if the Angels don’t find a trade partner, they could run him through outright waivers and retain him if he clears.