A week after the Angels’ No. 2 pitching prospect made his major league debut and was promptly sent back to triple-A Salt Lake, he was back in Halos red.
Jose Suarez will make another spot start Sunday in the series finale against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium. An opening emerged for the left-hander because veteran Trevor Cahill, the originally scheduled starter, experienced elbow soreness after his last outing. Cahill will be placed on the 10-day injured list, the only way that an optioned player can return to a major league roster within 10 days.
Cahill is not expected to miss more than one start, manager Brad Ausmus said.
“We don’t think it’s anything serious,” he added.
Suarez was in the Angels clubhouse 18 hours later, sporting a smile and doling out hugs to the likes of left-hander Dillon Peters, a triple-A teammate he’d just seen in Salt Lake days earlier, and veteran Albert Pujols.
“He did a nice job,” Ausmus said of Suarez’s debut, during which he held the Mariners to three runs, five hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. “It was a good first outing. He got the win. Got some run support. A good fastball-changeup combination. We talked about using the breaking balls a bit more. But it was a very good first outing.”
Cahill, meanwhile, spent the afternoon going about his usual routine. He threw in the outfield, suggesting that he might indeed spend the minimum amount of time recovering from his injury. It’s likely that Cahill will be placed on the injured list retroactive to June 4, the day after his last start, so he would be eligible to return to the Angels rotation during next weekend’s series against the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida.
Since opening the season with a 3.50 earned-run average (seven runs in 18 innings) through three starts, effectiveness has escaped Cahill. Batters have hit the sinkerballer at a .285 clip and opponents have piled on 39 runs, all earned, in 39 2/3 innings. Cahill’s 7.18 ERA is the highest among pitchers who have thrown more than 50 innings.
The only pitcher on the Angels staff with a higher ERA is Matt Harvey, who had a 7.50 ERA in 48 innings before landing on the injured list because of an upper-back strain.
Despite his struggles, the Angels maintain confidence that Cahill can right the course, so Suarez’s stay in the rotation figures, like last time, to be brief.
“Cahill definitely still has his stuff,” Aumsus said. “His velocity has been as good as ever this year, especially recently. It’s more about execution than raw stuff.”
Outfielder Justin Upton and Harvey were both active on rehab assignments Saturday. Upton played a second straight day at Class-A Inland Empire. Harvey started for Salt Lake and was roughed up for eight hits and eight runs in 2 2/3 innings. His velocity dipped from 92 mph in the first inning to as low as 89 by the time he threw his 83rd pitch. Harvey was throwing his fastball 93-94 mph before his last start May 23, when he surrendered eight earned runs on seven hits and one walk in 2 2/3 innings. … Infielder and mop-up reliever Jared Walsh was optioned to Salt Lake on Saturday to make room for Peters, who entered the game as the Angels’ primary pitcher after reliever Noe Ramirez pitched the first inning Saturday. The roster move left the Angels short a man on the bench, making Tommy La Stella the backup for first baseman Pujols. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is also capable of playing first base in a bind, as he’s done three times this season.