Luis Rengifo’s debut season with the Angels is over.
About 18 hours after feeling a pop while swinging in-game at Yankee Stadium, the rookie infielder was diagnosed with a fracture of the hamate bone in his left hand Wednesday. He will undergo surgery to address the break once the inflammation subsides.
Recoveries from such procedures typically range between four and eight weeks. The Angels’ season ends Sept. 29.
Rengifo, who was placed on the 60-day injured list to clear space on the 40-man roster for the return of Angels 2010 first-round pick Kaleb Cowart, is the 26th different Angels player to be placed on the injured list this season. That is a franchise record.
The hope is Rengifo, 22, will be able to have a relatively normal offseason and be ready to go by spring training.
Rengifo was first brought to the major leagues in April because of an injury to third baseman Zack Cozart. He was eventually sent back to triple-A but recalled when shortstop Andrelton Simmons sustained a severe ankle sprain in May. It seemed Rengifo’s apprenticeship would end when Simmons returned from the injured list five weeks later, but Rengifo had made such a positive impression that the Angels decided to keep him around.
After Tommy La Stella fractured his right tibia — an injury the All-Star is still rehabbing in hopes he can be reinstated before the end of the season — Rengifo returned to a starting role. He rarely was out of the lineup.
In 108 games, Rengifo hit .238 with 18 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 33 RBIs. His .685 on-base-plus slugging percentage was the second-lowest among Angels with at least 350 at-bats.
Rengifo, acquired in late March 2018, advanced quickly from high-Class A Inland Empire to triple-A Salt Lake last year. He barely missed a beat, hitting .299 with a .852 OPS, the best mark he’d posted playing for a full-season minor league affiliate.
The Angels chalked up his major league struggles to inexperience.
Rengifo admitted after Tuesday’s 8-0 loss to the Yankees, which he departed in the middle of his seventh-inning at-bat, that he’d experienced soreness in his left wrist previously. It was never severe enough for him to be worried.
“It’s my first year here and you always want to stay healthy,” Rengifo said in Spanish. “I was conscious of all that but then this happened. I can’t control that.”