SEATTLE — A rough stretch for the Angels got even tougher on Friday, as the club announced third baseman Anthony Rendon will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his right wrist early next week.
It’s another blow for the Angels, who have struggled to score runs over the last month, and yet another season-ending injury for Rendon, who also saw his 2021 end in early July due to a right hip injury that ultimately required surgery in August. It significantly weakens the lineup, as he’s one of the club’s key stars along with Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, and it comes amid a stretch of the Angels having lost 18 of their last 21 games.
“We knew [surgery] was always an option, but we were trying to figure out how to get through each day, but it got the point where it didn’t get better,” Rendon said. “Yesterday was the last straw. I tried to go through a new routine to try to see if I could play. And we tried to do some stuff during the game, but it just wouldn’t happen.”
Rendon had been dealing with the wrist injury since May 8 and was on the injured list from May 17 until June 10 with what was described as right wrist inflammation. He played in four games after his IL stint before leaving Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers with discomfort.
Head trainer Mike Frostad explained Friday that Rendon has an unstable tendon in his right wrist that would’ve eventually required surgery. It got the point where Rendon couldn’t play through it anymore, so he opted for the surgery now so he could have a normal offseason heading into next year. His recovery time is four to six months.
“It just gets inflamed and he tried to play through it, but unfortunately for him, it just became too much to play through every day,” Frostad said. “He did his best, and I applaud him for trying to get through it. We were expecting this to be the outcome, but he was just trying to get through the year and he just wasn’t able to get there.”
Rendon was considered day to day after being held out of the lineup against the Mariners on Wednesday and Thursday. But it was ultimately determined this injury could not simply be played through, instead requiring an operation to repair. It’s still unclear how Rendon sustained the injury.
Rendon, 32, finishes the season hitting .228/.324/.383 with five homers and 24 RBIs in 45 games. His final line is similar to his production from last year, when he batted .240/.329/.382 with six homers and 34 RBIs in 58 games. He’s played in 155 games with the Angels over the last three years, batting .252/.359/.421 with 20 homers, 34 doubles and 89 RBIs.
Rendon signed a seven-year deal worth $245 million before the start of the 2020 season but hasn’t been healthy or produced as he did with the Nationals until 2019, when he was considered one of the best third basemen in baseball. He was also a key figure in helping Washington win the World Series that year, slugging .586 in the seven-game 2019 Fall Classic. Rendon has four years and $154 million remaining on his contract.
“I love playing out there,” Rendon said. “I think one of the main factors of me trying to push through was that we have a great group of guys here. I didn’t want to do this two years in a row. Last year, we were out of it and didn’t stand chance, but this year, I loved going to battle with these guys every day.”
With Rendon out, the Angels are expected to use a combination of Matt Duffy, Jack Mayfield, Luis Rengifo and Tyler Wade at third base. Mayfield was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake and started there on Friday. David Fletcher remains out after hip surgery but could return in early July and has experience at the position, while third baseman David MacKinnon is having a strong year at Triple-A Salt Lake. Fellow infielder Michael Stefanic could also be an option down the line, but he is currently on the Minor League injured list with an undisclosed injury.
“We’ve got a few different options,” said interim manager Phil Nevin said. “We have certainly have guys who can go over there and play well defensively. But when you take Anthony Rendon out of the lineup, they way he works pitchers and takes at-bats, just that name in the lineup, it’s different. I’m not going to lie to you. But with where he’s at, he just couldn’t go, so we’ll piece it together every day.”