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    Angels still looking for better control from hard-throwing prospect Ben Joyce
    • May 31, 2024

    ANAHEIM — While right-hander Ben Joyce is showing some encouraging signs in Double-A, the Angels apparently still want to see more.

    “I just heard that occasionally he’s still having trouble throwing the ball over the plate,” Angels manager Ron Washington said on Thursday. “I know he’s striking out more people than innings. He’s definitely doing that. But that’s in the minor leagues. Those same balls he may be throwing down there that he’s getting people to swing at, these big boys up here just spit on them, and wait for the one he’s got to throw right down the middle. He’s getting there. He’s not there yet.”

    Joyce, 23, shot to the major leagues just about a year after he was drafted, largely on the strength of a fastball that touched 103 mph.

    He was sent back to Double-A this spring because he still struggled with his control.

    For the season, Joyce has a 4.26 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 11 walks in 19 innings.

    Over the past two weeks, though, Joyce has 15 strikeouts and two walks in his last 8⅓ innings. On Wednesday night, he gave up one run in two innings, striking out three and walking none.

    His last four pitches were all over 102 mph.

    How about Ben Joyce’s final batter today

    102.6 MPH
    102.5 MPH
    103.2 MPH
    102.6 MPH#Angels

    — Jared Tims (@Jared_Tims) May 30, 2024

    When it was suggested to Washington that Joyce has been cutting down his walks lately, Washington doubled down on his assertion that he’s not ready.

    “He’s still walking guys,” Washington said. “And if he’s walking guys like that in the minor leagues, and then you put him on a big league mound, what do you think’s gonna happen? The atmosphere is different. The expectations are different.”

    At the moment, it’s difficult for the Angels to make changes with their big-league bullpen because none of the eight pitchers who are active can be optioned. If the Angels want to create a spot for Joyce, they would need an injury or else someone would have to be designated for assignment.

    Right-hander Roansy Contreras, the last pitcher added to the bullpen, has not allowed a run in four innings with the Angels. Left-hander José Suarez, who struggled in April, has a 2.84 ERA in May, with 14 strikeouts in 12⅔ innings.


    Right fielder Jo Adell has one hit in his last 27 at-bats, with 13 strikeouts and no walks, a reversal of what had been shaping up to be a breakthrough season for the 25-year-old.

    “He’s in a bad spell,” Washington said. “We’re trying to keep him calmed down and let him know he’s got to come out of it. I think he’s getting to the point where he’s starting to try a little too hard. And that’s only youth.”

    Washington said he reiterated to Adell that he doesn’t need to press because he’s the everyday right fielder now.

    “He doesn’t need to look over his shoulder,” Washington said. “The way the game is constructed today, you could hit a buck-ninety-seven and you can play in the big leagues.”

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    Adell’s slump has dropped his batting average to .211, but his OPS is still .739, which is slightly above the major league average.


    The Angels temporarily halted Miguel Sanó’s rehab assignment because of the lingering affects of the burn he suffered from a heating pad.

    There is a limit to the number of days a player can be on a rehab assignment, so by recalling Sanó from his rehab assignment, it allows them to re-start the clock when he returns to the field. Sanó is expected to play at Triple-A before he’s activated.

    Sanó is on the injured list with inflammation in his surgically repaired left knee.


    Angels (RHP José Soriano, 2-5, 3.61 ERA) at Mariners (RHP Bryan Woo, 2-0, 1.66 ERA), Friday, 7:10 p.m. PT, Apple TV+, 830 AM

    ​ Orange County Register