ANAHEIM — Yunel Escobar headed to the disabled list for the second time this season, leaving the Angels in what Manager Mike Scioscia called a “mix and match” situation at third base.
Escobar was diagnosed with a mild grade 1 oblique strain, according to the Angels. The expected rehab time is two to three weeks.
While Escobar is out, the Angels’ primary options at third are Luis Valbuena and Kaleb Cowart. Valbuena started the first two games at third, with C.J. Cron taking his spot at first. Valbuena also got most of the time at third when Escobar was out in May with a strained hamstring.
Scioscia said he also wouldn’t hesitate to use Cowart, a better defender at third. The Angels have been auditioning Cowart at second, and he’s performed well offensively and defensively in his first two weeks as the primary second baseman.
Cowart was not in the lineup at either position on Tuesday night. He was hitless in his previous eight at-bats, after a 12-for-28 start.
“He got into a little rut,” Scioscia said, “but he’s still having good swings. There is no doubt his at-bats have been much better than anytime in his career. He has that confidence.”
BLUEPRINT FOR RICHARDS?
Garrett Richards said he’s scheduled for a full bullpen session, with all his pitches, on Friday. After completing that, he could be close to facing hitters, which draws his potential return to the big leagues even closer.
For an example of how the Angels might be able to fold Richards back into the rotation, it’s instructive to look at how they used Alex Meyer after acquiring him last summer.
Meyer had missed most of last summer with a shoulder injury. He started throwing shortly before the Aug. 1 trade, and he pitched his first inning in the Angels’ farm system Aug. 12. He pitched five games in the minors, getting only up to four innings, before pitching in the majors on Sept. 7, a start in which he threw just 55 pitches.
Richards, who is slightly behind that schedule, could join the Angels, even if he’s not built up to a normal 100-pitch starter workload, because rosters are expanded in September.
Scioscia said the presence of extra relievers means they “would consider” bringing Richards up to throw 50 or 60 pitches initially. He cautioned that can be dangerous, though, because it still taxes the bullpen.
Andrew Heaney’s next step is still to be determined, although Scioscia suggested that it’s possible Heaney’s next outing could be in the…