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Angels’ Michael Stefanic looks to pick up where he left off last season

Stefanic hit .400 in his final 38 plate appearances in 2023, but the start of his 2024 season was delayed more than two months by a quadriceps injury. His opportunity to play now is likely to be against left-handed pitchers.

Angels infielder Michael Stefanic hit .400 in his final 38 plate appearances in 2023, but the start of his 2024 season was delayed more than two months by a quadriceps injury. His opportunity to play now is likely to be against left-handed pitchers. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Angels infielder Michael Stefanic hit .400 in his final 38 plate appearances in 2023, but the start of his 2024 season was delayed more than two months by a quadriceps injury. His opportunity to play now is likely to be against left-handed pitchers. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Associate mug of Jeff Fletcher, Angels reporter, sports.

Date shot: 09/26/2012 . Photo by KATE LUCAS /  ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
UPDATED:

PHOENIX — Michael Stefanic finished last season on a high note.

Unfortunately for him and the Angels, a strained quadriceps didn’t allow him to show if he could pick up where last season ended.

“Definitely frustrating,” said Stefanic, who has been back in the majors since Saturday. “I knew right when I pulled my quad that it wasn’t good. I had one before. I knew it’s a long process, not always a linear process. Some days you wake up and you feel really good and can do stuff and other days you wake up sore and can’t do much. Unfortunately I had a couple setbacks, but here we are in June. I’m happy to be back.”

Stefanic was at the top of the lineup on Tuesday, with the Angels facing a left-hander. Against right-handed pitchers, Luis Guillorme is more likely to get the opportunity at second base.

Stefanic, 28, is a feel-good story simply from making the majors. A non-drafted free agent out of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Stefanic hit .326 in the minors to force his way to the big leagues.

At the end of last season, he hit .400 with a .933 OPS in his final 38 plate appearances, ending his season with a .290 batting average and a .735 OPS in 71 plate appearances.

“I feel like September was something I can really build off,” Stefanic said. “It gave me a lot of confidence going into this year. I’m excited to be at the top of the order and getting a lot of at-bats. I feel good. Ready to go.”

Manager Ron Washington didn’t get to see much of Stefanic before he got hurt in spring training, so he’s looking forward to getting a look at him now.

Defensively, Stefanic is “serviceable,” Washington said.

TROUT UPDATE

Mike Trout, who is five weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn meniscus, is still working out in the gym and running on an Alter G, which is an anti-gravity treadmill.

He has not yet begun to run with his full weight on his leg.

GETTING CLOSER

Infielder Brandon Drury, who had a strained hamstring, was set to open a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Tuesday night. Washington said Drury would likely play in the minors for the rest of this week and then be re-evaluated.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is recovering from a torn hamstring, is continuing to take ground balls and batting practice in Anaheim. He has been doing some light jogging.

Infielder Miguel Sanó, whose rehab from left knee inflammation was interrupted by a burn on his leg, has resumed playing in the Arizona Complex League. Washington said he’ll move to Triple-A “pretty soon.”

Right-hander Chase Silseth gave up six runs in 2-2/3 innings, allowing two homers and walking five, in a rehab start at Triple-A on Tuesday. He threw 71 pitches, just shy of the 75 he was scheduled to throw. Before the game, Washington said if the start in the minors went well, the Angels would have “a decision to make,” on whether to bring him back, Washington said.

Silseth, who is on the injured list because of elbow inflammation, had an elevated heart rate after a bullpen session over the weekend, but a cardiologist checked him out and cleared him to pitch.

Right-hander Sam Bachman, who had elbow surgery last fall, reported to Double-A and will pitch on Thursday. The Angels want to keep working Bachman as a starter.

HIURA SIGNS

The Angels signed infielder Keston Hiura to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Triple-A.

Hiura, a 27-year-old former top prospect with the Milwaukee Brewers, has a career .238 batting average with a .771 OPS. He last played in the majors in 2022. He spent last season in the Brewers’ farm system, and he began this season in Triple-A with the Detroit Tigers.

Hiura is a product of Valencia High (of Valencia) and UC Irvine.

BROADCASTER DIES

Steve Klauke, the longtime radio broadcaster for the Angels’ Salt Lake affiliate through last season, after he was struck by a car while walking in a crosswalk on Monday night in Sandy, Utah. Police said the driver, who did not see Klauke while making a right turn, was not impaired.

Klauke, who was 69, was the voice of the franchise for 29 years until he retired after the 2023 season.

“Steve Klauke was a dedicated long-time employee and world-class broadcaster,” said Gail Miller, co-founder and owner of the Larry H. Miller Company, which owned the team. “Steve will forever be remembered as ‘the voice of the Bees’ and holds a special place in our hearts. We will always treasure and honor the immeasurable impact he had on the sports community in Utah and beyond.”

UP NEXT

Angels (RHP José Soriano, 3-5, 3.64 ERA) at Diamondbacks (RHP Slade Cecconi, 1-4, 5.66), Wednesday, 6:40 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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