His fastball averages 96 mph to 97 mph, but it was on a changeup that Keynan Middleton felt his 2018 season end.
The Angels reliever decided Thursday to undergo elbow ligament replacement surgery, a procedure that typically involves a recovery process of 12 to 18 months.
The exact date of the operation has not been set as Middleton is still meeting with doctors.
“I’m a guy who’s going to do everything I can for my team,” he said. “So I’m going to go out there and pick up the ball until I can’t, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Middleton sensed there was something wrong in the eighth inning Sunday when he used his changeup to retire Minnesota’s Eduardo Escobar on a groundball. He threw two more pitches to Eddie Rosario before exiting.
“I feel bad for letting my teammates down,” Middleton said. “We’re competing right now. Not being able to contribute is going to be rough.”
He opened the month on the disabled list with what the Angels described as elbow inflammation.
Middleton, 24, was reinstated May 10 and appeared in two games without incident before Sunday. He retired the first two Twins he faced and threw 12 pitches total before being pulled.
“I felt good,” he said. “I felt good enough to compete. All year long you go through injuries, ‘Is it serious? Is it not?’ This was just kind of a thing that happened. And it went very quickly.”
Former Angel Cron leading Rays in hits, runs and homers
He began Thursday leading his team in hits, runs and homers. Most notably, no one on the Tampa Bay Rays had appeared in more games or had more at-bats than C.J. Cron.
The former Angel returned to face the club that drafted him in the first round in 2011. During his four seasons here, Cron was productive at times but never had a regular everyday role.
Before the game, he praised the Angels for giving him his first shot in the big leagues and called the organization “a special place.” But he also noted that the increase in playing time has been a key to his season.
“Just coming to the park every day knowing I’m going to be in that two-hole kind of allows me to make the necessary adjustments you have to at this level,” Cron said. “When you’re playing three days a week, your career hinges on that day. The consistency has helped.”