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OC Register: Angels turn to rookie Michael Hermosillo for outfield depth

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ANAHEIM — When Michael Hermosillo arrived at Angel Stadium early Friday afternoon for his first major league game, not many players were around. He said at least three guys beat him to the ballpark: Andrew Heaney, Matt Shoemaker and Mike Trout.

“Just to get a hug from Trout, a guy like that, is just awesome,” Hermosillo said.

Hermosillo, 23, showed up early enough that he had all afternoon to let the fuzzy feeling subside before playing the Tampa Bay Rays. He was penciled into the number-9 spot in the batting order and started in right field. Kole Calhoun, mired in a season-long slump, was given a day off.

To make room for Hermosillo on the active roster, pitcher Felix Peña was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds in the team’s media guide, Hermosillo did not profile as a power hitter when he was plucked out of high school in the 28th round of the 2013 draft. In 2017, before Hermosillo earned a spot on the Angels’ 40-man roster, he hit a career-high nine home runs across three minor league levels.

Six weeks into the 2018 season, Hermosillo had six home runs with Salt Lake.

“That’s never been the case before,” he said. “My strikeouts were a little up at first but now I’m starting to get the hang of that with the new approach, new swing, et cetera. I’m working out the kinks. I feel good right now. Especially the last 10 games, I’ve been seeing the ball well, not chasing pitches as much. Hopefully, I can just take that into today.”

Hermosillo had a .267 batting average and .366 on-base percentage to go along with his .481 slugging percentage at Salt Lake. He stole 35 bases in 120 minor league games last year and was successful in seven of his first 10 attempts this year at Salt Lake.

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Between Calhoun’s struggles and Justin Upton’s left hand injury, Hermosillo’s first call-up might be short-lived. The Angels would prefer Calhoun reach base closer to his .330 career mark than the major-league low .196 he’s posted in 2018. So long as Calhoun’s bat is a liability, Hermosillo should have a chance to steal plate appearances.

A Chris Archer fastball left a bruise on Upton’s left hand Thursday. He isn’t expected to visit the disabled list, but Manager Mike Scioscia said Friday was too soon for Upton to pick up a bat. If nothing else, Hermosillo provides needed depth. Chris Young got a rare start in left field Friday.

Peña, a right-hander, allowed two runs in 1-2/3 innings Thursday against the Rays in his second stint with the Angels this year.


Pitcher Matt Shoemaker is scheduled to meet with Dr. Susan MacKinnon in St. Louis on Monday, a follow-up visit to determine treatment for the nerve issue in his right forearm.

The pitcher said his prognosis was still pending a consultation between MacKinnon and the Angels’ in-house team of doctors.

“She thinks it’s a nerve compression,” Shoemaker said. “Something is pushing down on my nerve causing this to repeat.”

For now, Shoemaker’s options include surgery and non-surgical treatment.

“I feel like I can be ready whenever it’s ready,” he said. “We just have to fix the problem first, and I think we’ve gotten closer to doing this.”

The veteran right-hander has been limited to 15 starts the last two seasons.


Pitcher Blake Wood, on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow impingement, might continue his minor-league rehabilitation assignment before being activated, Scioscia said. Wood has pitched twice this week already for Class-A Inland Empire. … New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. took batting practice as a guest of the Rays. He hit two balls over the outfield wall right-handed and hit a line drive to right field left-handed on his final swing.


Rays (RHP Sergio Romo, 1-0, 4.96 ERA) vs. Angels (LHP Andrew Heaney, 2-2, 3.93 ERA), Saturday, 6 p.m., Fox Sports West

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