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OC Register: Angels’ Felix Peña has Grade 1 hamstring strain, likely to start season on IL


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Angels pitcher Felix Peña has a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring, an MRI exam revealed on Wednesday. The right-handed reliever is expected to miss 2 to 4 weeks, leaving his availability for Opening Day in jeopardy.

Peña is likely to be on the injured list when the Angels begin the regular season two weeks from Thursday.

“It’s going to be difficult for him to start the year with us,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Peña.

The 31-year-old Peña made four appearances in Cactus League play, each time pitching one inning or less. After a four-day layoff, Peña faced just two batters in the fifth inning on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds. He exited with irritation in his right hamstring.

Peña showed promise as a starter in 2018, his first season with the Angels. He transitioned to a bullpen role the following year, but a torn ACL in his right knee ended his season early. Peña made 25 appearances last season, mostly in a middle relief role, and went 3-0 with a 4.05 earned-run average. He was expected to reprise that in a revamped Angels bullpen in 2021.

The Angels do not lack internal options to replace Peña on their Opening Day roster. They have 33 pitchers listed on their camp roster, plus two-player Shohei Ohtani. Still, General Manager Perry Minasian would not rule out acquiring a pitcher from outside the organization to fill Peña’s role.

“Absolutely,” Minasian said. “I think that’s always a possibility. Part of our job as a baseball operations staff is to explore every area we possibly can, whether that’s inside or outside, and that’s something we do on a daily basis.”

Shane Greene, Juan Nicasio, Brad Peacock and David Robertson are among the veteran right-handed relief options who have yet to secure a contract for 2021. Free agent reliever Roberto Osuna, a former closer for the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros, reportedly held a showcase for teams in the Dominican Republic last week.

“There’s still different ways to get this done. Who knows, at the end of camp there still might be (pitchers) available from other teams. Felix has been doing really well. I don’t think we’re at any kind of a critical stage. I like the way it’s shaping up, and I like the unity of the group.

“Two to four (weeks) is not bad,” Maddon continued. “We can get him back relatively fast. In the meantime, this gives an opportunity to somebody else.”

ROSTER CUTS

The Angels trimmed their major league camp roster by nine. The most prominent name reassigned to their minor league camp is prospect Jordyn Adams. The 21-year-old outfielder went 1 for 13 (.077) with a home run and seven strikeouts in Cactus League play.

Jeremiah Jackson, Brennan Lund, Keinner Pina, Jack Kruger, Davis Daniel, Denny Brady, Livan Soto and Harrison Wenson were also reassigned Wednesday.

ALSO

Five teams are slated to add humidors to their stadiums this year as part of Major League Baseball’s efforts to deaden the baseball, according to multiple reports. Minasian said the Angels are not among the five teams. … Shohei Ohtani batted leadoff against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night. … Outfielder Brandon Marsh (shoulder) is “real close” to playing in the field, “like any day now,” Maddon said.

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