Angels infielder Tommy La Stella has been diagnosed with a fractured tibia in his right leg, the team announced today. He’s expected to miss the next eight to ten weeks of action. The injury, sustained last night when fouling a ball into his shin, will cause La Stella to miss the All-Star Game. Meanwhile, outfielder Brian Goodwin, who exited last night’s game after being hit by a pitch, has been diagnosed with a contusion. Both have been placed on the 10-day injured list.
In a pair of corresponding roster moves, the Angels have selected the contracts of corner infield prospect Matt Thaiss (as had been previously reported) and former Giants outfielder Jarrett Parker. Additionally, right-hander Jaime Barria is up from Triple-A Salt Lake to start tonight’s game.
The loss of La Stella stings both for the team and for La Stella himself. A longtime reserve infielder who at one point was undecided as to whether he wanted to continue his career, La Stella has thrived in a near-regular role in 2019, hitting at a .300/.353/.495 clip in 312 plate appearances. La Stella’s 16 home runs are more than he had in his entire career (947 plate appearances) heading into the season, and his brilliant showing drew enough fan recognition to earn the 30-year-old a starting nod in the aforementioned All-Star Game.
From a team standpoint, it’s another disheartening setback in what has become one of the most difficult seasons in franchise history. The Angels were (and are) still reeling from the gut-wrenching death of left-hander Tyler Skaggs when La Stella had to be helped off the field. Watching La Stella suit up for the All-Star Game could’ve served as a brief respite from the unyielding grief felt in the Angels’ clubhouse, but La Stella himself will now be a spectator for the Midsummer Classic.
In his absence, the Halos will get their first look at Thaiss, a 2016 first-rounder who has begun to tap into his power since reaching Triple-A in 2018. Thaiss was a catcher at the time of his draft but widely expected to move to first base in pro ball. He’s done just that, for the most part, but Thaiss has played more third base (391 innings) than first base (191) in 2019. The Angels could potentially shift David Fletcher over to second base and continue the Thaiss experiment at the hot corner, thus adding a left-handed bat to help replace La Stella. In 372 plate appearances in Salt Lake, Thaiss was hitting .274/.390/.477 with 14 home runs.
As for Parker, the 30-year-old will return to the big leagues for the first time since 2017 with today’s promotion. He spent parts of the 2015-17 seasons in San Francisco, hitting a combined .257/.335/.456 with 15 homers in 382 plate appearances. Most of his production came early in his MLB tenure, though, and he mustered a lackluster .247/.294/.416 slash through a career-high 177 plate appearances in his final season on the MLB roster. So far in 2019, Parker has turned in a terrific .296/.424/.604 slash with 19 home runs in just 283 plate appearances. He’s fanned at a fairly high 27.2 percent clip but helped to offset those whiffs with a 17.3 percent walk rate.