Angels pitcher Julio Teheran missing from camp for second day in row

Angels pitcher Julio Teheran is shown at spring training Feb. 12, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.
Right-hander Julio Teheran, seen here at spring training Feb. 12 in Tempe, Ariz., signed a one-year contract with the Angels in December.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Before reconvening their squads for training camp this week, Major League Baseball teams would have had reason to be concerned about the shape in which pitchers would report after a months-long hiatus. Some had struggled to find catchers capable of working with them during bullpen sessions. Maintaining a solid pitching routine had proven difficult for many.

But apparently not for any Angels. The workload of most starters should be ramped up to 90 pitches by the time the season is scheduled to start July 23, manager Joe Maddon said Saturday in a video conference call before the second practice of camp.

Maddon pointed to Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning as examples. They threw about 50 pitches each in a simulated game Friday. They are scheduled to approach the 70-pitch threshold on their next outing. Maddon expects Andrew Heaney, Matt Andriese and Shohei Ohtani to adhere to the same schedule.

It is unclear whether starter Julio Teheran will follow their lead. The right-hander was missing from workouts Saturday morning for the second day in a row. Teheran’s agent could not be reached for comment.

On the day the Angels began training camp, superstar Mike Trout said he might not play because his wife is pregnant and he’s worried about COVID-19.

Maddon did not disclose the reason for Teheran’s absence. Speaking from his mobile office outside the Angels’ facility at Cal State Long Beach, Maddon said he wasn’t sure whether Teheran relocated to the Anaheim area following the layoff. Asked whether anyone had decided to opt out of the season, Maddon said no one’s decision had changed.

Maddon’s comments caused speculation. All players and staff members had to be tested for COVID-19 upon returning to their teams. MLB reported Friday that 31 players and seven staff members tested positive out of 3,185 samples collected.

Maddon could not share if the Angels, who learned last month that two players within their organization contracted the coronavirus, had positive tests. MLB forbids divulging such information.

“It’s just protocol,” he said.

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Several players around the league gave clubs permission to reveal that they tested positive since reporting to training camp earlier in the week, including San Diego Padres outfielder Tommy Pham and Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Neither had symptoms. Orange County native Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves tested positive and reported Saturday that he had a fever.

A prolonged absence by Teheran could be a blow to the Angels, who signed the 29-year-old to a one-year contract worth $9 million in December.

Teheran stood out to the Angels as much for his price — Cy Young-caliber pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu were available at the time but commanded multiyear contracts of more than $50 million each — as for his potential. Teheran had one of his most uneven seasons last year, leading the Braves to initially exclude him from their postseason roster. He later discovered he had fallen into bad habits and spent the offseason working to correct his arm action and improve his release point.

Tyson Brummett, who was drafted out of UCLA by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, died Friday in a plane crash with three others in Utah.

Teheran wasn’t the perfect solution to the Angels’ pitching woes, but he was a solid mid-rotation option who had proven durable throughout his career. He made at least 30 starts per season from 2013 to 2019. Before spring training was cut short by the pandemic in mid-March, Teheran was poised to serve a similar role in Anaheim.