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OC Register: Angels right-hander Chris Rodriguez set to face hitters for the first time since 2021


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TEMPE, Ariz. — Chris Rodriguez is finally ready to take the next step in his rehab from shoulder surgery.

The Angels’ right-hander said he’s set to face hitters in live batting practice on Tuesday. It will be the first time he’s faced hitters since he was injured in 2021.

“I’m really excited with how things have come along,” Rodriguez said. “It’s great. I’m feeling really good. Taking steps in the right direction.”

It’s been apparent for a couple weeks now that Rodriguez wasn’t going to be ready in time to compete for a spot on the Angels’ Opening Day roster, and it now seems certain that he’ll be on the injured list and not even able to pitch in the minors when that season starts.

If all goes well on Tuesday, though, he could begin pitching in simulated games or other exhibition games next week.

The Angels had high hopes for Rodriguez, 24, after the way he performed in his debut season in 2021. He had a 3.64 ERA in 29-2/3 innings, including two starts.

Rodriguez had shoulder surgery in October 2021, and then he had a setback last summer. Although the Angels have not characterized anything since then as a setback, his progress has been slow.

MARTE HURT

Right-hander José Marte, who hasn’t pitched in a game all spring, underwent imaging that showed a stress reaction in his right elbow, an injury that will cost him at least a couple months. It’s a bone injury, not a problem with any of the ligaments in his elbow, according to manager Phil Nevin.

Marte will be shut down from any throwing for four weeks.

“It’s unfortunate,” Nevin said. “We were real excited about the way he was throwing, but he got ahead of it letting us know there was some discomfort in there before it got any worse.”

Marte is on the 40-man roster, so he becomes a candidate to move to the 60-day injured list to create a spot if the Angels want to add any of their non-roster players before Opening Day.

NOTES

Left-hander José Quijada and infielder Luis Rengifo returned to camp on Monday, a couple days after they played for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Venezuela was eliminated by the USA on Saturday night. …

Infielder Brandon Drury was still not in the lineup on Monday. He bruised his calf on a foul ball on Friday, and he’s been out as a precaution since. Nevin said that Drury has not been happy that Nevin is keeping him out of action. “He wants to play,” Nevin said. “I’m trying to explain it’s spring training. I get it. That’s how he’s wired. He wants to be out there with the guys. No problem with that. I’d rather have that than somebody I have to push onto the field.”

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