MLB: Angels’ Jo Adell looks to continue rebirth vs. Cardinals

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Jo Adell’s status with the Los Angeles Angels has been tenuous at best, even as recently as spring training this season.

But the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft has been given every chance to find himself as a major leaguer, and the Angels’ patience appears to be paying off.

Adell likely will be in right field Monday night when the Angels begin a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals in Anaheim, Calif. And it’s not simply because Mike Trout is injured, Aaron Hicks was released and Mickey Moniak has struggled, depleting the Angels’ outfield depth.

Adell also has earned his playing time by being productive at the plate. While he has shown flashes of his potential since first reaching the big leagues at age 21 in 2020, the most notable difference this time is his ability to make adjustments when going through a slump and turning things around.

Adell started the season well, hitting .327 with four homers, 11 RBIs and a .995 OPS in April. But he began May by going hitless in his first 16 at-bats.

Instead of getting sent to the minors or riding the bench, Adell was given the opportunity to work his way out of the slump, and it has paid off.

Despite going 0-for-3 in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals, ending a five-game hitting streak, Adell is 5-for-17 with three homers and six RBIs in his past five games. His seven home runs for the season rank tied with Taylor Ward for second most on the club, trailing Trout’s 10.

“I think it all goes back to my decisions in the box and what I’m choosing to swing at,” Adell said. “In early May, I didn’t do the best job of getting pitches that I can handle. And we went back and looked at that and refocused on getting those pitches to handle early in the count and being ready to swing and being on the attack.”

Making contact and limiting his strikeouts also has been a focus. Before this season, he had struck out in 35.4 percent of his career plate appearances; this season, his rate is 24.8 percent.

“He’s only getting started,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “Even look at his defense and he’s improving. And just how confident he is and you see the same thing at the plate. He’s going to strike out, but if you give him 500 at-bats, he’s going to do some damage. But he’s learning and he’s using the whole field.

“You can see him grow in front of your face. You saw where he was back when he was just a puppy.”

Right-hander Jose Soriano (1-4, 4.32 ERA) will make his ninth appearance (seventh start) on the mound for the Angels on Monday. He has never faced the Cardinals.

St. Louis left-hander Matthew Liberatore (1-1, 3.54) will make his 15th appearance of the season but just his second start. He made a spot start filling in for the injured Steven Matz on May 5, returned to the bullpen last week and pitched on Friday in relief against Milwaukee. He has never faced the Angels.

The Cardinals have struggled of late, losing seven in a row before beating the Brewers 4-3 on Sunday. The blame can be spread throughout the team, but third baseman Nolan Arenado, an eight-time All-Star, pointed at himself.

“I’ve just got to be better and be a better player for the guys,” he said. “I’ve got to get on base more and drive in more runs. I know when I say that it might be adding more pressure, but I expect myself to do a better job all the way around to help these guys out.”

–Field Level Media

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