TODAY: Manager Phil Nevin told reporters (including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger) that the MRI didn’t reveal any structural damage to Lorenzen’s shoulder. The plan is for Lorenzen to start a throwing program after he finishes getting treatment.
JULY 7: The Angels announced that they have placed starter Michael Lorenzen on the 15-day injured list due to a right shoulder strain. The move is retroactive to July 4. Right-hander Jose Marte has been recalled to take his spot on the active roster.
Lorenzen, 30, had spent his entire career with the Reds until reaching free agency last year. Cincy had used him primarily as a relief pitcher, though Lorenzen went into the open market hoping for an opportunity to join a starting rotation. The Angels stepped up and gave him that chance, signing him to a one-year, $6.75MM deal. So far, he’s made 13 starts and thrown 71 innings. In that time, he has an 18.1% strikeout rate, 9.9% walk rate and 51.9% ground ball rate. All told, he has a 4.94 ERA, though advanced metrics are a little more bullish, with Lorenzen having a 4.57 SIERA and 4.46 FIP.
Those numbers probably belie how effective Lorenzen has been, as his last three starts have been awful, perhaps due to this shoulder ailment starting to crop up. Those three turns resulted in 16 earned runs, causing those numbers to shoot upwards. Up until that point, he had a 3.69 ERA, 4.46 SIERA and 3.82 FIP.
The Angels haven’t provided a timeline for Lorenzen’s absence but more information should be forthcoming in the days ahead. Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic was among those to relay that Lorenzen is headed for the MRI machine soon. But regardless of the length of his absence, this situation has the potential for significant ramifications. For the Angels, they are losing a solid member of their starting rotation at a key time. The club is 38-45, seven games back of the Blue Jays for the final AL Wild Card spot, with five teams in between them. The August 2 trade deadline is now just over three weeks away, meaning the club will have to make some tough decisions about how to approach it.
Though the club would surely love to climb back into the race, they will now have to do so without Lorenzen. If they are unable to get hot in the next few weeks, they will have to give consideration to flipping players with short windows of control. With the demand for starting pitching seeming to be outpacing the supply, any serviceable starting pitcher will be highly sought after. The Angels have both Noah Syndergaard and Lorenzen on one-year deals, making them logical candidates to be moved in the coming weeks, though this injury could perhaps scuttle the chances of a Lorenzen deal. Even if he is able to return to health and rejoin the team before the deadline, the injury concern will likely reduce the return that the Angels are able to demand in any deal.