MLB: Angels’ Keston Hiura looks to make most of his chances vs. Cubs


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Luis Rengifo will not be in the starting lineup Sunday when the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs wrap up a three-game series at Wrigley Field.

While Rengifo has been a key contributor for the Angels in the first half of the season — .315 batting average, six homers, 25 RBIs and 22 stolen bases — his trip to the injured list (inflamed wrist) has opened an opportunity for Keston Hiura, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday to take Rengifo’s spot on the roster.

Hiura went 1-for-3 with a run scored as the designated hitter in Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Cubs, his first major league game since Oct. 5, 2022, while with the Milwaukee Brewers. And he went 2-for-5 with an RBI in Saturday’s 7-0 win over Chicago, starting at second base as the Angels ended a five-game losing streak.

Hiura spent all of last season in the minors in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization, dealing with a knee injury for much of it. He was released by the Brewers after the season, then signed with the Detroit Tigers and played at Triple-A Toledo before being released on June 3. A week later, the Angels signed him and sent him to Salt Lake.

The Southern California native earned his promotion thanks to a torrid pace with the Bees. In 19 games, Hiura hit .360 with 12 homers, 21 RBIs and a 1.282 OPS.

“Everything felt good,” Hiura said. “I was telling people the last week or two when I was with Toledo, things started to come together. I felt good at the plate and capitalized on mistakes by pitchers. Just carried it on over to Salt Lake. Things were going well, barreling balls. Obviously, I was happy with the results.”

Hiura, who can play first base, second base and the outfield, is 5-foot-11, 208 pounds but has shown the ability to hit for power. He hit 19 home runs for the Brewers in 2019 and reached double figures in homers in two other seasons.

Right-hander Jose Soriano (4-6, 3.77 ERA) will make his 14th start (16th appearance) of the season for the Angels on Sunday. He has made two appearances against the Cubs in his career, throwing a scoreless inning of relief in each.

Right-hander Hayden Wesneski (2-5, 4.14) will make his sixth start (23rd appearance) of the season for Chicago, coming off a 6-4 loss in his most recent start on Tuesday, when he allowed five runs and five hits in five innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wesneski began the season at Triple-A Iowa before being called up April 17. In Chicago, he’s spent the season bouncing back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation, trying to establish himself as a major leaguer, both in the eyes of the organization and his own mind.

“It helps for someone like me that has been moved up and down,” Wesneski said. “It just confirms that I should be here, right? And I deserve to pitch in the big leagues, or I should pitch in the big leagues. And it also gives me a check point of like, ‘Hey, you’re doing the right stuff. You’re doing the right work. Continue to do that.'”

In his one career start against the Angels, in June of last year, Wesneski gave up four runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings, getting a no-decision.

–Field Level Media


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