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    Ben Joyce primed for closing opportunities with Angels
    • July 10, 2024

    ANAHEIM — As his success would suggest, Ben Joyce is ready for the next step as a major league reliever.

    Angels manager Ron Washington said Joyce is now one of the pitchers the Angels would consider for save situations if closer Carlos Estévez is not available.

    Luis Garcia is also in that group.

    That’s particularly relevant because Estévez is likely to be traded before the July 30 deadline, and Garcia might also be moved. That could clear the way for Joyce in the ninth inning.

    “Maybe when Esty is down and if Garcia has been used, (Joyce) will be our guy we use to close games,” Washington said. “No doubt about it.”

    Joyce had a 3.65 ERA going into Tuesday night’s game, including an ongoing streak of eight straight scoreless outings. That hot streak coincides with Joyce adding a sinker to his repertoire. That’s helped him get some quicker outs on weak contact, as opposed to just going for strikeouts with his 102 mph fastball and his slider.

    “He’s showing he’s learning how to throw the ball over the plate and be efficient with his pitches to get outs,” Washington said. “He’s not using 25 pitches any more to get three outs. I’ve seen him do it in eight, seen him do it in 12, seen him do it in 11, seen him do it in 13. That’s efficiency coming out of the bullpen, something he’s never done.”

    “He’s growing, man. He’s starting to believe in himself and his ability to throw the ball over the plate. If he can do that, he’s going to be a real good one.”

    RENGIFO UPDATE

    Infielder Luis Rengifo said the hand specialist who evaluated him on Monday determined that there was no structural damage, only inflammation.

    There is still no timetable for him to return, but the diagnosis is good news.

    “It feels good, it feels better,” Rengifo said on Tuesday. “Every day it feels better. My mind is to be on the field as soon as possible.”

    Rengifo was hitting .315 with an .800 OPS when he was hurt on a swing last week in Oakland.

    “Now we just gotta wait for the swelling to go down and see what he can do it that it doesn’t bother him,” Washington said. “At least right now we know nothing has to happen other than just rest.”

    HIURA’S GLOVE

    Angels infielders have been working on the fundamentals with Washington’s familiar series of drills ever since the start of spring training, but Keston Hiura is just getting started now.

    Hiura was signed as a free agent in June, and he was in Triple-A until being called up to the majors over the weekend. Hiura plays first and second base.

    Hiura has always been known more for his bat than his glove, and Washington is working to change that.

    “Every day we gotta do something with him to correct things,” Washington said. “It’s hard to believe a guy has been in the game as long as he’s been in the game and he has those type of deficiencies. Simple deficiencies. Knowing how to feed the ball. Knowing how to cover the bag. Knowing how to throw.

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    “The game is really doing a lot of these kids an injustice and it’s sorry to see. It is what it is. He’s here, so we’re going to touch him. And we’re going to try to help him to fix all of that. And he’s working so it won’t be long. He does have some catching up to do.”

    NOTES

    Infielder Brandon Drury, who missed most of the first half with a hamstring injury, had three hits in two games on Sunday and Monday. All six of his hits since he came off the injured list have been singles, though. “The expectation on him is more than just getting singles,” Washington said. “We need some damage. We just hope in the next few days he finds the damage. If he finds the damage, then we can talk about him being back.” …

    Anthony Rendon reported to Washington that he felt “much better than expected,” a day after his first game in more than two months. Rendon was back in the lineup at DH on Tuesday, and he’s scheduled to play third base again on Wednesday.

    UP NEXT

    Rangers (RHP Michael Lorenzen, 5-4, 3.21 ERA) at Angels (RHP Griffin Canning, 3-9, 4.87 ERA), Wednesday, 6:38 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

    ​ Orange County Register 

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