Justin Upton isn’t so much concerned about a potential knee injury as he is frustrated that it could mean another disheartening turn in a tumultuous season.
The Angels left fielder underwent an MRI on Wednesday to determine what is wrong with the right knee that has been bothering him since the Angels traveled to Chicago last week to play the White Sox. By the time the Angels lost 4-3 to the Cleveland Indians to mark their 80th defeat of the season, Upton had neither learned what caused his injury nor the results of the imaging.
An unfavorable verdict would pile on the disappointment Upton has experienced this year. The streaky-hitting 32-year-old missed the first 72 games of the season while recovering from a severe toe sprain, which he sustained by stubbing his left big toe into the outfield wall during the exhibition Freeway Series on March 25. The injury occurred about a week after Upton made his spring training debut, which had been delayed by right knee tendinitis.
Upton did not play in the series finale against Cleveland. Taylor Ward started in left field in his place.
Upton had never missed so much time because of injury. The lack of repetitions had a negative impact on his offense: He has batted .215 with 12 home runs and a .724 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 63 games. Outside of a 10-game stretch in which he went 10 for 32 with a gaudy 1.113 OPS from Aug. 9-19, Upton has barely resembled the hitter the Angels signed to a five-year, $106-million contract prior to the 2018 season.
Upton has flailed in his last 18 games, hitting .177 with two doubles and three home runs. He has swung at nearly 26% of pitches outside of the zone, which isn’t unusual for him. But he is making far less successful contact on those swings, about 49% of the time since Aug. 20. He made 10% more contact in such instances last year, when he had an .808 OPS in 145 games. It was his second straight year with an OPS above .800.
“It’s just the culmination of everything, I guess,” Upton said. “It’s not fun. But I’ve just got to deal with it.”
Bedrosian’s season over
Reliever Cam Bedrosian will not return from a right forearm strain this season. With only 15 games remaining, the Angels decided to shut him down.
“No, no, no,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said when asked if Bedrosian would need surgery. “This is just taking the cautious approach to make sure that he’s fully recovered rather than rushing him back.”
Bedrosian will finish a strong season with a 3.23 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings over 59 games. He held opponents to a .207 average, 56 percentage points lower than last season.
The 27-year-old, who earned $1.75 million, is likely headed for a nice raise as he approaches arbitration for the third time.
Mike Trout, who has been dealing with a nerve issue in his right foot for about a month, was held out of the Angels lineup for the fifth consecutive game. The injury was helped by a cryoablation procedure — in which a needle filled with cold fluids is inserted in the body to deaden inflamed tissue — he underwent Monday. He expects to play in Friday’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. Doctors told Trout, who will decide later if he must undergo an offseason operation to address his condition, he will not make his foot worse by playing out the remainder of the season. … Infielder Zack Cozart has not made progress since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his left shoulder nearly two months ago. He is still not participating in baseball activities, but he expects to be ready by spring training. Cozart has played in only 96 games since signing a three-year, $38-million contract prior to the 2018 season.