The Griffin Canning health situation has drawn quite a bit of attention in Angels’ camp recently. Manager Joe Maddon told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times) this afternoon “it would be hard to imagine” a situation in which Canning doesn’t begin the season on the injured list. Canning was unable to participate in his scheduled throwing session yesterday due to persistent trouble in his elbow, Maddon adds (via Shaikin). He’ll instead undergo testing next Wednesday or Thursday to determine if the issue is related to his joint or to a ligament, tweets Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic.
Until those results come back, it’s difficult to know exactly what to make of the situation. Still, it’s worrisome for a few reasons. Health concerns have dogged Canning dating back to his time at UCLA, and he ended last season on the shelf with elbow inflammation. A few days ago, Canning was diagnosed with “chronic changes” to his UCL and “acute joint irritation” in the elbow, hardly a promising start to the spring for the 23-year-old.
Canning’s health is especially important to an Angels’ staff that’s thin in the rotation. Shohei Ohtani won’t make a return to the mound until at least mid-May, leaving Andrew Heaney, Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy to front an uncertain starting group. Beyond that trio, Jaime Barria, José Suarez and Felix Peña are on hand to fill out the back end, but none was especially good in 2019. Canning, likewise, struggled a bit with run prevention (4.58 ERA), but posted solid strikeout (25.0%) and walk (7.8%) rates as a rookie. The club is no doubt hoping for positive news on the health front and a step forward in results from the former second-rounder.