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AL West

When MLB Returns, Where Will the Angels Be?

Mike Trout. Photo by Julie Fennell. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is unclear when any sport will start back up. For the Los Angeles Angels and the rest of the MLB, the season has yet to begin.

Opening day was set for March 26 at home against the Houston Astros but due to the state the globe is in, California put a stay-at-home order into effect just one week prior on March 19 and it looks like it may end up being extended into August. 

One plan in consideration was to bring the 2020 baseball season back with the proposal that all 30 teams play at spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida.

If this is the case, the Angels may not see one of their starters for quite some time. Outfielder Mike Trout has stated that if the team plays in Arizona, he sees many issues with the plan, including quarantining in Arizona with the possibility of not having his family there.

Trout and his wife announced in early March that they were expecting their first child. He wants baseball to come back but also doesn’t want to miss the birth of his son, who is due in August. If the season were to start in July, it would mean that Trout would miss some time towards the beginning of the season. 

Would he have to quarantine before going back on the field after his son is born? As of now, the answer to this is unknown and we won’t know until the season starts up.  

Losing Trout that early could hurt the Angels as he won the AL Hank Aaron award and his third AL MVP following the 2019 season. 

On the other side, Shohei Ohtani was only going to be in the lineup as a designated hitter but now that the season has been delayed, he may be back not only as a hitter, but as a pitcher as well. 

During this pandemic, Ohtani has been throwing multiple bullpens a week and could go back to being a two-way player when the season starts up.  

Ohtani hasn’t pitched since he had undergone Tommy John Surgery at the end of the 2018 season and had only hit during the 2019 season. Again, his season was cut short after he needed surgery to repair a bipartite patella.

After finishing his first stint with the Angels as a coach, manager Joe Maddon returns to coach the team after 15 years, finishing most recently with the Chicago Cubs. Maddon broke the Cubs’ 108-year old World Series Championship drought in 2016 by defeating the Cleveland Indians in a seven-game series. 

Maddon comes in after former manager Brad Asmus was dismissed following his only season with the team. The Angels’ record for the 2019 was 72-90, finishing fourth in the AL West. 

If everyone stays healthy, the Angels have a chance to be a top contender in the AL West under the direction of Maddon.  

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