If you’ve flown between John Wayne airport and Salt Lake City at any point this season, your odds of bumping into an Angels player are pretty high. The Angels have been busy burning a path from Anaheim to their Triple-A affiliate, having used 36 batters and 20 pitchers this season — both tied for second in the league.
Sunday might have been the busiest day of them all.
For Salt Lake City alone:
• Outfielder Kole Calhoun was activated for the Bees’ game against the Nashville Sounds
• Infielder/outfielder Bill Hall was released
• Third baseman Luis Jimenez was on his way from Anaheim, having been optioned out by the Angels
• Pitcher Ryan Madson was also en route to make a rehabilitation assignment
• Pitcher Barry Enright cleared waivers and was outrighted
Got all that?
Calhoun fractured a bone in his right wrist swinging a bat in his first game of the season April 4, an injury that required surgery five days later. Projected to miss six weeks from the time of the operation, Calhoun returns two days ahead of schedule.
Hall was batting .168 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, with 25 strikeouts in just 85 at-bats. The 33-year-old journeyman was capable of playing both the infield and the outfield, but hit his way off the major-league radar. Nelson essentially becomes the multi-position backup that Maicer Izturis was from 2005-12, and Hall hoped to be in 2013.
Jimenez was optioned amid decreased playing time with the Angels. He batted .333/.378/.405 in his first 12 games with the Angels but only had two hits since April 25, and lost the starting third baseman’s job when Alberto Callaspo came off the disabled list. Jimenez impressed the Angels with his glovework and manager Mike Scioscia said “at some point we could see him again.”
Madson will begin his first rehabilitation assignment with the Bees “early next week,” Scioscia said. The right-hander pitched an inning for Single-A Inland Empire on Monday.
Cousins was expendable not just because of Calhoun’s health, but because J.B. Shuck has emerged as a viable fourth outfielder in Anaheim. Shuck didn’t even begin the season on the 40-man roster in his first year in the Angels’ organization, but won the fourth outfielder’s job in spring training and never let go.