The recent losses of both closer Huston Street and setup man Joe Smith came at a bad time for the Los Angeles Angels, though one of the two might be coming back sooner than expected.
While Street's groin strain (called 'devastating' by teammate Mike Trout) will likely keep him out for the rest of the season, Smith told MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez on Monday that he's progressing quickly with the left ankle he sprained falling down stairs at the team hotel a few weeks back.
Referring to the ankle as being 'cranky' when he wakes up in the morning, Smith told Gonzalez that, "The ankle wakes up like my attitude."
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However, the pain has subsided enough to allow the side-arming right-hander to engage in fielding drills on Monday afternoon, and he'll throw off a mound on Tuesday.
Manager Mike Scioscia sounded hopeful when discussing Smith's progress with Gonzalez: "Today was one of the first where you could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there's still some things he needs to get a little more proficient at."
As for his own perspective, Smith used the words 'yeah' and 'confident' when asked by Gonzalez if he thought he'd be able to return before the Angels' regular season finale on Sunday against the Texas Rangers in Arlington.
The potential return of Smith would do wonders for the Halos' bullpen, which has been in makeshift 'closer by committee' status with both him and Street sidelined. With the Halos gunning for a last-minute postseason spot, bullpen stability would be welcomed.