The Angels have selected outfielder Dillon Thomas onto the major league roster, according to a club announcement. They’ve also recalled Jack Mayfield from Triple-A Salt Lake, optioned José Suarez and placed Luis Rengifo on the paternity list. Reliever Ty Buttrey has been designated for assignment to open space for Thomas on the 40-man roster.
Thomas inked a minor league contract with the Halos over the offseason. The 29-year-old has spent the year in Salt Lake and performed quite well, hitting .295/.398/.489 with eight home runs in 211 plate appearances. Thomas has drawn walks in a strong 10.9% of his trips while striking out at a roughly league average level (23.7%). It’s his second consecutive solid year of Triple-A work, as he posted a .269/.377/.448 line with the Mariners top affiliate in 2021.
Seattle gave Thomas a brief look at the MLB level last summer, getting him into four games. The Houston native will hope for a longer stay on the roster this time around, although he does have a pair of minor league option years remaining and can be moved between Anaheim and Salt Lake.
Thomas, who has some experience in center field but has spent most of his minor league career in the corners, adds some depth while the team plays things cautiously with Mike Trout. The three-time MVP left last night’s game early with left groin tightness. It doesn’t seem to be a concern, as team trainer Mike Frostad told reporters (including Sam Blum of the Athletic) that Trout is day-to-day. Juan Lagares will get the start in center field tonight, however.
Buttrey, meanwhile, loses his 40-man roster spot after struggling in Triple-A. He’s tossed 12 1/3 innings of nine-run ball, striking out only five batters while issuing a trio of walks. Buttrey has induced grounders on almost 60% of batted balls, but he wasn’t missing enough bats to be on the radar for an MLB call. The 29-year-old frankly acknowledged after his DFA (Twitter link) that he “(has) work to do to get myself back to peak form. … The best players will play and I’m not one of them yet. We will see what happens over the next few days, if not I’ll be back in Angel Stadium when the time is right.”
It’s not especially surprising that Buttrey hasn’t been at top form to this point, as he’s making his way back after sitting out the 2021 campaign. The right-hander stepped away from the game last April, saying at the time he’d begun to lose his passion and love for the sport. After a year away, Buttrey embarked on a comeback in January, and he’s occupied a spot on the 40-man roster since April.
The Angels will now have a week to trade Buttrey or try to run him through outright waivers. He struggled to a 5.81 ERA over 26 1/3 big league frames during the shortened 2020 season, but he’d posted a 3.98 mark with a quality 27.2% strikeout rate in 2019.