Phil Nevin has switched around some of his coaches.
The Angels’ interim manager, with the blessing of general manager Perry Minasian, has changed up his infielders, first base and third base coaches – moves he said he had been thinking about the last few days.
Mike Gallego will become the regular third base coach. Nevin had been in that role before he was named interim manager last week when Joe Maddon was fired.
“I look at this as really three promotions for each coach,” Nevin said before Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss to the Dodgers in the Freeway Series opener at Dodger Stadium. “[Mike] has also been doing our defensive alignment on the infield. I know as a third base coach, you got a lot going on. “
Benji Gil, a former big league infielder who had been serving as first base coach, will take over for Gallego and oversee the infielders.
“[Benji], I think, sees the game through an incredible lens, especially being a middle infielder, ”Nevin said. “He’s played all over the infield. That job will be his and his alone to work with our analysts and positioning our infielders. It lets him focus solely on our infielders. ”
And Damon Mashore, who will still continue his duties as the outfielders and baserunning coach, will become the first base coach.
“He does a lot of work with the runners on stealing bases, working on pitchers’ times and tendencies,” Nevin said. “He’s now in direct contact with runners on first.”
Nevin clarified that he had no problems with Gil in his previous role, saying the moves were ways to capitalize on each coach’s specialties.
Anthony Rendon aggravates wrist:
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon was removed from Tuesday’s game after aggravating his right wrist, the team said.
Rendon described the wrist problem as discomfort, which he feels when he throws and when he bats. He also said his wrist was “bothersome all day.”
“And then trying to get treatment on it, trying to warm up,” Rendon said after the game, “just going out there and playing, swinging on it, throwing on it and realizing that I was not going to be competitive or helping the team out there today.
“Hopefully it goes away, but it is what it is,” he said.
Matt Duffy replaced Rendon at third base in the fifth inning.
Rendon went 0 for 2, with his last at-bat, an eight-pitch effort, ending with a flyout to right field.
“[His wrist] just flared up on him today, ”Nevin said after the game. “It’s going to be a day-to-day thing with him. We knew that coming in, and today just was not a good day for him. ”
Nevin said Rendon will be checked out further Wednesday but did not say whether the wrist issue would lead to another IL stint.
“Each day, we have to check him out,” Nevin added. “He wants to be out there.”
After the fourth inning, Rendon approached Nevin to tell him about his troublesome wrist, something the manager did not appear alarmed about when recounting the incident after the game.
“I appreciate his honesty,” Nevin said. “I trust him when he tells me those things, but it was best to get him out when I did.”
Taylor Ward returns:
Right fielder Taylor Ward (right hamstring strain) was reinstated from the injured list ahead of Tuesday’s game and reinserted into the No. 1 spot in the batting order.
The decision to have him lead off was a no-brainer for Nevin, who pointed to his .443 on-base percentage.
“When you look up and see the best on-base percentage in the league, you really like that guy leading off for you,” Nevin said. “When we look back to April, all the success we had, a lot of it stems from what Taylor did for us.
“I just think it’s a lift for the room,” he continued. “We’re back to full strength.”
Nevin said Ward “put in a lot of work while he’s been out” but knew picking up where he left off – before he went on the IL on June 5 – would be difficult.
Ward flew out to right field in his first at-bat Tuesday. He went 0 for 4 in the loss but reached via a fielding error by Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux in the sixth inning. Ward’s return made for a happy sight for Angels fans, who got to see Ward, Rendon:, Mike Trout: and: Shohei Ohtani: all back.
“Really encouraged by his bat path, his approach. When he drives the ball to right field is when he’s at his best, ”Nevin said after the game. “I’m really happy with what I saw there. He comes out of the game feeling really good too, so that’s encouraging. He’s fine. “
The last time fans saw Ward before Tuesday, he went one for three against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 3. He was one of baseball’s top hitters before going on the IL. He had 40 hits in 30 games (108 at-bats from April 16 to May 20) with six doubles, two triples, nine homers, 23 RBIs and 23 walks.
Maddon moved Ward to the leadoff spot April 25 in the middle of the Angels’ hot streak.
Shohei Ohtani to pitch Thursday:
Ohtani is scheduled to be the starting pitcher in the Angels’ series opener at Seattle on Thursday night, Nevin said.
Patrick Sandoval will likely pitch one of the games during Saturday’s doubleheader against the Mariners.
The Angels were still deciding on their other starter for Saturday as well as their starters for Friday and Sunday.
Austin Warren discusses freak accident:
Angels reliever Austin Warren, who was hit in the nose by a ball before the returned game May 3 against the Red Sox in Boston, returned from IL and was back in the clubhouse Sunday.
Before Tuesday’s game, he opened up about that freak pregame practice incident. He explained its aftermath. He said he went straight to the trainer’s room and had someone get his phone so he could tell his family that he had gotten hit pretty badly but would be OK. His concern at the time was his family seeing the news on Twitter and freaking out.
“My girl was actually in town, and she met me at the hospital,” Warren said. “Yes, my mom did fly out that night and stayed with me in my hotel room.”
Warren was left with two black eyes, the first time he had ever suffered one.
Warren had surgery May 10 to repair his broken nose.
“Freak accident,” Warren said. “Stuff happens, and I’m just glad to be back.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.