Biceps tendon rupture puts end to Rengifo’s season

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
The Angels utility player, who posted impressive numbers throughout the past two months, was placed on the IL ahead of Saturday’s game.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Fresh off being named the American League Player of the Week, Luis Rengifo was placed on the IL today with a biceps tendon rupture, putting an unfortunate end to his 2023 season. 

Rengifo initially showed signs of the injury before his first at-bat against the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday. Randal Grichuk stepped in to pinch-hit and Rengifo didn’t play on Thursday and Friday. 

Angels manager, Phil Nevin, said that they had a good idea of what the injury was on Thursday, and imaging done on Friday confirmed it was a ruptured biceps tendon in Rengifo’s left arm. 

“It’s a pretty significant injury. As you know, the rehab process is pretty grueling, but if anybody handles this and tackles it head on, it’s a guy like Luis,” said Nevin. “I’m hurt. I’m upset for him. I’m going to miss him being out there for one, but you miss his personality. I know he’s going to tackle the rehab head on and he’ll be good.” 

Sitting with a 65-77 record, placing several players on the IL and shuffling day-to-day injuries with Shohei Ohtani, Nolan Schanuel and Mickey Moniak, the Angels’ road since the All-Star break has been riddled with obstacles, but Rengifo has been one of their brighter spots. 

As a switch-hitting utility player, Rengifo has put together quite the performance over the past couple months, hitting .327/.391/.520 in August and .360/.346/.640 after seven games in September. He was recognized as the AL Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Sept. 2 after he hit .440 with three home runs and seven RBIs, resulting in a 1.207 OPS to cap off a dominant week. 

His recent power at the plate marked a serious jump from his performances earlier this season. After slashing .197/.254/.279 in May, Rengifo said he made adjustments to his offense, resulting in a career-high 14 game hit streak in September and much improved numbers since the All-Star Break. 

“The last two months of the season, I’ve been more consistent,” said Rengifo. “Maybe the first half, I felt a little off, but I found my rhythm and I wanted to continue to do that but as you know, my arm didn’t help.” 

Looking to the future, Rengifo said he expects to have a normal offseason after recovering from this injury, with a ramp up starting in December. He also expects to be ready to go for spring training and the start of the 2024 season. 

“He’s so important to this dugout, just his energy and what he brings and not just on the field,” said Nevin. “The good news is the timetable. He should be ready for spring training next year or right there close.” 

Other Injury Updates

Outside of Rengifo, there are a few other players who are working through injuries, with some of them being on day-to-day watch. 

Mike Trout, who was placed on the IL with a left hamate fracture in his hand at the end of August, has started holding a bat and taking dry swings. He didn’t feel much soreness, which is “encouraging,” said Nevin. 

Placed on the IL with a left shin contusion in July after being hit by a pitch, Anthony Rendon has been doing some running. 

“He’s moving around good. When I came out here, he was on the treadmill when I was on my way out, so obviously fine enough to do that work with his legs today which is encouraging,” said Nevin. 

Zach Neto (lower back inflammation) is currently on a rehab assignment with the Salt Lake Bees and is nearing a return.

“He’s going to play all nine innings tonight in Salt Lake. He played seven last night and came out of it feeling really well. If he gets through nine tonight, we’ll have a discussion and see how he is,” said Nevin. 

Nevin also added that after pitching triple digit velocities last night on a rehab assignment with the Inland Empire 66ers, Ben Joyce (ulnar neuritis) is close to returning and they’ll be discussing that move soon. 

“He felt really good throwing, and we’re happy with the results, so very close,” he said. 

For day-to-day injuries, Moniak got the day off on Saturday as he continues to deal with back tightness. Schanuel felt sore in his shoulder blade area and was also given the day. 

After discussions between Nevin and Ohtani, they agreed that he needed another day off on Saturday as well. Ohtani was first scratched from the lineup earlier this week with right oblique tightness. Nevin said Ohtani felt better today after swinging the bat, but he thought it would be best to give him the day to make sure he is 100% ready to go upon return. 

“He mentioned he feels good again today, better again today. He said probably one more day would be good. If not, then it will be Monday in Seattle. This is a day-to-day thing, and I know he’s going to do some more activity today, which he feels comfortable with,” said Nevin.