Jo Adell will be in the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Angels on Monday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners in Anaheim, Calif., and will take his spot in right field, which the Angels are hoping will be his for years to come.
Adell was not on the major league roster to start the season. But after Justin Upton’s slow start, the Angels decided to call up the 21-year old on Aug. 4 and handed him the job in right field.
Adell has started 19 of the Angels 25 games since he joined the club, but his first few weeks were anything but smooth. He struggled offensively, hitting just .175 with no homers, only one RBI and 28 strikeouts in 63 at-bats over 17 games.
He also has been a work in progress defensively and had an embarrassing moment when a ball caromed off his glove and went over the fence for a four-base error at Texas.
Adell, however, may have had his breakthrough performance on Saturday against the Mariners, hitting the first two home runs of his major league career. It was something the Angels have waited for patiently, and something Adell said he believed would come eventually. No matter what level, Adell has been a slow starter each professional season.
“For me, it’s exposure, it’s education,” Adell said. “My mom used to say that all the time. The more you get to see these pitchers and see what they’re trying to do, the more you’re able to make the adjustments and perform at a higher level. I think that’s kind of what had to happen for me to have success.”
Adell, however, followed up his big day Saturday by going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Mariners, so his growing pains aren’t over.
“He’s becoming a little bit more comfortable being here,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “And as he does that, you’re going to see what everybody else has seen when he was drafted or was playing in the minor leagues. Sometimes it’s not easy.”
Adell and his Angels teammates Monday will face Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales (3-2, 3.63 ERA), who has pitched well against them this season — he’s 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two starts versus Los Angeles.
Adell wasn’t up with the Angels yet in the first game (July 30), but in the second game (Aug.5), Gonzales struck out Adell twice in two at-bats.
Gonzales is just 28, but he has become a mentor to many of the Mariners’ young players, particularly their young pitchers. Gonzales’ best game of the season came on Aug. 18 when, despite getting a no-decision, he held the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run and five hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking none.
“Shutting down a team like that says a lot,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I’m thinking as I’m watching the game, I don’t think you can draw it up any better as far as what you’re looking for young pitchers to emulate than what Marco Gonzales does. His preparation, execution, competitiveness, I can’t say enough about the job he did and continues to do.”
The Angels will go with Jaime Barria (0-0, 2.89 ERA), who has been building up his arm to get to his first start of the season after 9 1/3 innings so far in two appearances.
Angels infielder David Fletcher is questionable for Monday’s game after rolling his left ankle running out an infield grounder Sunday in the third inning. Fletcher initially remained in the game before he was removed to start the fifth. He had played every inning of every game for the Angels this season before Sunday.
–Field Level Media