ANAHEIM ― The list of players who begin each season as the Angels’ fourth outfielder is beginning to resemble the list of Spinal Tap drummers. Not since Ben Revere in 2017 has the primary backup managed to remain with the team from the beginning of the season until the end.
To recap: the Angels designated Justin Upton for assignment in April; he was signed by the Seattle Mariners in May and was their starting left fielder on Friday.
Last season, Dexter Fowler suffered a season-ending knee injury after playing just seven games.
In 2020, Brian Goodwin was traded to Cincinnati at the deadline.
In 2019, Peter Bourjos was released in May.
In 2018, Chris Young suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in July.
The result each time has been a revolving door of outfielders, young and old, who rarely stay long enough to leave an impression in Anaheim. (Remember Adam Eaton?) The door revolved again Friday, when Juan Lagares was designated for assignment and Monte Harrison was promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake.
Lagares, 33, signed a free agent contract with the Angels on May 8 and was promoted after seven games at Triple-A Salt Lake. He did not participate in spring training while waiting for a major league contract, and the rust showed. Lagares batted .183 in 20 games while managing to amass -0.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.
Harrison, 26, hit .213 in 50 games at Triple-A with six home runs, 24 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 23 chances. A right-handed hitter, Harrison is a former top prospect who was traded from the Brewers to the Marlins in the 2018 deal that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee.
Besides his speed, Harrison’s skill set rarely manifested in Miami. He appeared in 41 major league games from 2020-21, going 10 for 57 (.175), before he was released in March. The Angels signed him to a minor league contract in April. He will wear uniform number 13.
“We’ll work on what his role is going to be,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “Probably a lot like what Juan was.”
Nevin declined to announce a starting pitcher for Sunday’s game against the Mariners. Left-hander Marco Gonzales will start for Seattle.
Noah Syndergaard is available to start the game on his usual five days of rest, but Nevin said he’ll use the right-hander in Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox instead.
Jose Suarez is the most likely pitcher to get the assignment. The left-hander was designated as the “27th man” and started Game 2 of a doubleheader last Saturday in Seattle. He needed 95 pitches to complete 4⅓ innings that day, but he did not allow a run. He has not appeared in a game for Triple-A Salt Lake since.
The next-most realistic candidate on the 40-man roster, right-hander Chase Silseth, is scheduled to start for Double-A Rocket City on Sunday. He’s 1-2 with a 4.96 ERA in four starts for the Angels.
Kenny Rosenberg, who threw 4⅔ shutout innings on Sunday in Seattle, is not eligible to be recalled before next Friday unless he replaces an injured player.
West Covina’s Ty France missed his first game of the season Friday, and he might miss the entire series pending MRI results, after injuring his left elbow in a collision at first base Thursday in Oakland. The Mariners’ first baseman carried a .316/.390/.476 slash line through Thursday.
Seattle (LHP Logan Gilbert, 7-3, 2.28 ERA) at Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 3-2, 2.70 ERA), Saturday, 7:10 p.m., Bally Sports West, FS1, 830 AM