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OC Register: Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy set to begin rehab assignment


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ANAHEIM — Jonathan Lucroy might be returning to the Angels in a few days.

Lucroy, who suffered a broken nose and a concussion in a frightening home plate collision on July 7 in Houston, has been cleared through the concussion protocol and will begin a rehab assignment on Friday at Class-A Inland Empire.

Manager Brad Ausmus said Lucroy might only need “a couple” games in the minors, catching five to seven innings in the first and nine in the second.

Lucroy went through a full on-field workout on Thursday, doing some hitting, catching and baserunning.

“If it was up to me, I’d have been playing last week,” said Lucroy, who just nine days earlier had a procedure to repair his nose.

TO OPEN OR NOT?

Jaime Barría has made no secret of the fact that he prefers to start in the first inning, rather than pitching after an opener.

“I believe I am more of a starter,” Barría said through an interpreter after giving up one run in five innings as a traditional starter on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. “Coming in after somebody else, I haven’t really done it in the past. I definitely feel more comfortable coming in in the first inning.”

The numbers back him up. In three games pitching after an opener, Barría has allowed 18 runs in 10-2/3 innings. He also pitched two games as a more traditional reliever, entering after the fifth, and he allowed two runs in 7-2/3 innings in those games.

In four games as a starter, he has allowed eight runs in 20 innings, a 3.60 ERA. Last year he had a 3.41 ERA in 26 starts.

Ausmus said the sample is too small to really determine if the role is the reason that Barría has struggled at times this year, although he also didn’t rule it out.

“I don’t want to start that narrative that it’s the opener causing the issue,” Ausmus said. “Pitchers know it’s their job to pitch when they’re brought into the game and it’s their job to get outs. … I get the fact that there is a comfort level of being a starting pitcher, having a routine. I’m not going to deny that some starting pitchers gravitate more toward that than others. Barria could be one of those guys.”

ALSO

The Angels optioned third baseman Taylor Ward to create a roster spot for José Suarez, who came up to pitch on Thursday night. …

Starting pitcher Andrew Heaney, who is on the injured list with a shoulder problem, resumed throwing on Thursday. The next steps of his rehab will be determined based on how he feels. …

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons was not in the lineup on Thursday. Ausmus said it was a routine day off.

UP NEXT

Angels (RHP Griffin Canning, 3-5, 4.67) vs. Orioles (RHP Asher Wojchiecowski, 1-3, 3.91), Friday, 7:07 p.m., Fox Sports West, 830 AM

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