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    Angels’ Kevin Pillar appreciates returning to Southern California
    • May 1, 2024

    ANAHEIM — At around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Kevin Pillar was an unemployed baseball player, sitting at home in Arizona, playing with his son.

    Then his phone rang, and within five hours he was in the clubhouse at Angel Stadium, with a spot on the Angels’ roster.

    “It’s kind of a crazy day, but exciting,” Pillar said Wednesday, before he started in left field for the Angels.

    Pillar, a 35-year-old who is in his 12th major-league season, was released over the weekend by the Chicago White Sox. He had been at home waiting for an opportunity when Mike Trout’s torn meniscus provided one.

    Pillar is a fit for the Angels because he’s a good defensive outfielder who can play all three positions, and he’s also better against left-handed pitchers. Mickey Moniak, who is expected to get most of the starts in center in Trout’s absence, has historically struggled against lefties.

    Last season, Pillar had a .734 OPS against lefties. This season, he had an .854 OPS in his first 16 plate appearances against lefties.

    Angels manager Ron Washington, who was with Pillar with the Atlanta Braves last season, fully endorsed him for his professionalism and makeup. Washington said he’ll start primarily against lefties, but he was in the lineup against Philadelphia Phillies ace right-hander Zack Wheeler on Wednesday because Washington wanted to give Taylor Ward a day at designated hitter.

    Pillar, a product of Chaminade High and Cal State Dominguez Hills, said he appreciated the chance to play in Southern California.

    Also, for as much as the Angels have struggled in the first month, it still felt to Pillar like an upgrade from the White Sox.

    “Obviously, that organization’s at a little different point than where this organization is at,” Pillar said. “Coming into a place that is excited to win and expected to win. It’s always a place that I want to be. It’s hard being in a place where the priority is not winning, necessarily. It’s kind of development you know, trying to get the organization back on track.

    “You put a lot of pressure on yourself to go out, perform every day. But coming into a place where winning is the most important, that’s what you put your value on.”


    The Angels placed Miguel Sanó on the injured list on Wednesday because of left knee inflammation.

    Sanó began dealing with the issue last week, and the Angels hoped it would improve sufficiently with just a few days off.

    He was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sunday. He would be eligible to return May 8, the final day of the series next week in Pittsburgh.

    The Angels brought up veteran outfielder Willie Calhoun to replace Sanó on the active roster. Calhoun, 29, was hitting .268 with a .706 OPS at Triple-A. Calhoun has played parts of seven seasons in the majors with four teams. He had a .712 OPS with the New York Yankees last season.

    In order to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Calhoun, the Angels designated right-hander Zac Kristofak for assignment. If no one claims Kristofak on waivers, the Angels will be able to keep him in the organization.


    A day after the Angels rallied from a three-run deficit before blowing a two-run lead in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington said there were more positives to take from that game than the negative of the loss.

    He said it was another positive step, along with Monday’s come-from-behind victory.

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    “I think the past two days is the type of baseball that we expect ourselves to play,” Washington said before Wednesday’s game. “The results at the end of nine innings are the results. But it’s how you win and how you lose. If we’ve got to lose ballgames playing like that every night, I’m in. Hopefully that we can get to a point where we can sustain and be consistent in how we play. And if we do that, I’ll take whatever happens.”


    Brandon Drury was a late scratch from the lineup because of a migraine, the Angels announced. …

    The Angels will face Mission Viejo High product Tanner Bibbee on Friday in Cleveland. Bibbee was a high school teammate of Patrick Sandoval, and the two pitched against each other last year in Cleveland.


    Angels (RHP José Soriano, 0-4, 4.76 ERA) at Guardians (RHP Tanner Bibbee, 2-0, 3.45 ERA), Friday, 4:10 p.m. PT, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

    ​ Orange County Register