The Angels announced a set of roster moves today, including the placement of middle infielder David Fletcher on the 15-day injured list with a left hip strain. Lefty Kenny Rosenberg was optioned to Triple-A, and outfielder Jose Rojas was placed on the injured list for an unspecified reason, implying a COVID-19 issue. Joining the active roster are outfielder Aaron Whitefield (as reported earlier today) and infielder Luis Rengifo.
This is already the second time Fletcher has been sidelined by a hip strain this season, and he will be visiting a specialist on Monday to determine the extent of the problem. Fletcher received cortisone shots during his first IL stint, and while the problem “hasn’t really gotten worse, it just wasn’t as good as we thought the injection would make it,” he told reporters, including Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times. A next step won’t be known until Fletcher’s doctor visit, and it is possible surgery might be required. Fletcher is hopeful that such a procedure wouldn’t put his season in jeopardy, as “hopefully I’ll get it fixed and be back pretty soon.”
The Halos have become pretty accustomed to playing without Fletcher thus far in 2022, though Matt Duffy’s ongoing presence on the COVID-related injured list will further complicate matters. Rengifo’s call-up will give the Angels an extra infielder to join Tyler Wade, Andrew Velazquez, and Jack Mayfield in juggling the second base and shortstop duties.
While Anaheim may have enough offense in the rest of the lineup to get by with more of a defensive focus up the middle, it does make for an imperfect situation even if Fletcher is able to return. Fletcher (understandably) hasn’t hit much in his limited playing time this season, and batted only .262/.297/.324 over 665 plate appearances in 2021. It was a big step backwards from Fletcher’s very impressive 120 OPS+/122 wRC+ performance in the shortened 2020 campaign, or even his closer-to-league average numbers in 2019. If Fletcher does require surgery and need to miss a good chunk of the remaining season, the middle infield would seem like a natural trade deadline target area for the Angels if they remain in contention.