07/18/12 7:00 PM ET
Haren hopes to return to mound this weekend
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
Questions arise as Wells nears return
DETROIT -- The Angels could have a difficult situation on their hands with outfielder Vernon Wells, whose recovery from right thumb surgery could have him back with the club by late July.With Wells in the lineup, the Angels ranked 27th in the Majors in runs per game (3.64) and tied for 22nd with a .686 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Since he went on the disabled list May 21, they're tied for first in runs per game (5.35) and rank second in OPS (.821). A lot of other things went into that improvement, of course. Like Mike Trout having a bigger imprint on the offense and Albert Pujols getting going. But it was Wells' injury that created an everyday role for Mark Trumbo and stabilized their outfield. And as Wells' return draws near -- he'll begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday -- it's clear the Angels have very little need or room for him. On one hand, there's Wells' .223/.255/.414 slash line in 169 games with the Angels. But then there's that immovable contract, which will pay him $21 million each of the next two seasons. What role will Wells be coming back to? Barring a trade over the next couple of weeks, it's hard to see it being any more prominent than a limited bench role -- where he'd get a start on the days Kendrys Morales sits against left-handers and perhaps spell Torii Hunter once or twice per week. The playing time of Trout and Trumbo, at least, will not be compromised. Manager Mike Scioscia will admit that much. "We're going to look at the situation presented when Vernon's healthy and back and ready to go, but I think Vernon understands the situation," Scioscia said. "With the way Mike and Mark are playing, they're going to be out there every day, and we'll see how everything else folds in."
Angels sign outfielder Crowe to Minors deal
DETROIT -- Back in late March, the Angels were painstakingly close to sending Bobby Abreu to the Indians, and one player who could've gone to the Angels in that proposed deal was outfielder Trevor Crowe. The trade, of course, didn't happen.But 3 1/2 months later, it's almost like it did. Abreu is gone from the roster -- playing for the Dodgers -- and on Tuesday, the Angels signed Trevor Crowe to a Minor League deal, shortly after he was released by Cleveland. Crowe is currently playing out of Triple-A Salt Lake. He's 28, a switch-hitter, can play all three outfield spots -- though most of his experience comes in center -- and has compiled a .245/.295/.329 slash line in 205 games in the big leagues, spanning three seasons. Crowe was taken 14th overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, underwent shoulder surgery early in 2011 and hit .250 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 38 games for Triple-A Columbus this season. On the Angels, he'll provide some organizational depth -- and perhaps insurance, in case they end up trading one of their outfielders. "He's kind of a speed-oriented, multi-position outfielder who we hope goes into Salt Lake and clicks," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "He swung the bat really well this spring, when we saw him for Cleveland. His playing time was intermittent. He's had some battles with injuries. But at the end of the day, we felt like it was an opportunity to add some depth."
Chris Iannetta (right forearm strain) threw to second base for a second time on Wednesday and Scioscia said it was "the best he's thrown in a couple of weeks." If all goes according to plan, Iannetta will start playing in rehab games this weekend. Jordan Walden (right biceps strain) is still a couple of days away from resuming his throwing, as he waits for some anti-inflammatory medication to set in. Angels starter Ervin Santana has switched agents, from Bean Stringfellow to Adam Katz, Katz's agency confirmed. If the Angels don't exercise Santana's $13 million club option for next season, he'll become a free agent. At 7 p.m. PT on Thursday, MLB Network will air a special feature on Angels center fielder Mike Trout during their "MLB Tonight" show, which follows the White Sox-Red Sox game. Taped at Yankee Stadium and in his hometown of Millville, N.J., the feature discusses Trout's upbringing and rise to All-Star status as a 20-year-old. It'll re-air on Friday during "The Rundown," which begins at 11 a.m.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.