ANAHEIM, Calif. — Anthony Rendon knew he hadn’t been right all season with the Los Angeles Angels. He just didn’t know why until an MRI revealed a right hip injury that appears to be the cause of all his woes.
Rendon will undergo surgery next week to fix the impingement, and he hopes to be at full strength for spring training. With seven weeks left in what’s probably a lost season for the Angels and their third baseman, Rendon decided to get a head start on making the most of the remaining five years on his $245 million contract.
“We figured it out and did a conservative route trying to rehab it, and obviously that’s not working,” Rendon said. “So looking at the grand scheme of things, we thought it was a better time just to get it taken care of and not have to worry about it over the course of the next five years.”
Rendon appeared in just 58 games this season, and he hasn’t played since July 6. Along with an injured list stint after fouling a ball off his knee, he also missed time with a groin injury and what was initially called a hamstring injury.
Rendon says both those soft-tissue injuries were a product of his hip problem.
“I’ve been feeling it for a while, but I didn’t know what I was feeling until talking to other guys who had similar issues,” Rendon said. “And then obviously you have an MRI and pictures on the hips. Speaking to a specialist about it and how it affects the other parts of your body around the hips, I was able to pinpoint all of the pieces and put the puzzle together.”
After performing fairly well in his pandemic-shortened debut year with the Angels, Rendon was poor at the plate in 2021 even when he was healthy enough to play. The former NL All-Star and major league RBI leader for Washington batted a career-low .240 with six homers and 34 RBIs this season, posting a pedestrian .712 OPS.
When asked to evaluate his season, Rendon got sarcastic.
“You try writing with a couple of broken fingers and see how you do,” Rendon said. “Oh, I felt great. Really excited about hitting .230, playing like 45 games in a season of 162 games. It’s a real success, right?”
Rendon was trying to play through pain that he didn’t understand, an overall discomfort that left him with no strength or flexibility in his legs. He had even sensed the beginnings of the problem in 2020 and said it grew into “a stabbing pain going into your hip. Felt like a clamp was grabbing the front of my hip and the back of my butt. That’s not a good feeling.”
“There was a point in there where I thought I was going crazy,” Rendon added. “Everyone looked at me like I was, to a point where I was almost convinced myself, that maybe, ‘Am I making this up?’ But digging deeper, obviously getting pictures, and then speaking to specialists, speaking to guys with a prior history [of the injury], put me at ease a little bit at being able to find answers.”
The Angels have managed to stay around .500 all season despite getting no help from their two highest-paid players for nearly three months.
Mike Trout has been on the injured list since May 18 with a right calf strain, and the three-time MVP doesn’t appear to be close to returning, although he hasn’t been shut down for the season.
“It’s definitely frustrating when you have a good amount of injuries on a team, but that’s part of the game,” Rendon said.