Jo Adell is expected to start in right field on Thursday night when the Los Angeles Angels face the Chicago Cubs in Anaheim, Calif., with the hosts seeking a three-game sweep.
Adell was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday in what likely will be a short stint with the big-league team --regular right fielder Hunter Renfroe should return in a few days from paternity leave. So Adell understands it's not a make-or-break opportunity, unlike his previous big-league experiences.
Adell was a first-round pick (10th overall selection) in 2017 but failed to live up to expectations after first breaking into the big leagues in 2020 at age 21.
He played in a career-high 88 games with the Angels last season but has been unable to solidify himself as a big-league player. In 161 career major league games, he is hitting .215 with 15 homers and a .616 OPS -- and he has struggled at times on defense.
Before his call-up on Wednesday, Adell had spent the entire season in Triple-A. However, he seems to have discovered a path to success this season. In 55 games with Salt Lake, he hit .278 with 18 homers, 43 RBIs and a .958 OPS.
"I think the big thing for me is that I've changed my idea of what getting beat is, and knowing there are certain pitches I'm not going to be able to hit and certain pitches I will be able to hit," Adell said. "There are certain parts of the plate where I do a good job hitting and I try to zone in on those (areas), and when those mistakes arrive, I'm ready. ...
"It's honestly more mental in the approach aspect than it is physically."
Angels manager Phil Nevin and his staff have monitored Adell's progress along the way.
"I'm sure that the time will come for Jo," Nevin said recently. "It's just how baseball works. But at the end of the day -- and I communicate that to him -- I'm proud of him, the work ethic and how he's doing things."
Angels left-hander Reid Detmers (0-5, 5.15 ERA) will make his 11th start of the season on Thursday. He has never faced the Cubs in his three major league seasons.
Fellow left-hander Drew Smyly (5-3, 3.56 ERA) will make his 13th start of the season for the Cubs. He is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in eight career games (six starts) against the Angels.
Cubs rookie first baseman Matt Mervis keeps receiving playing time despite a current slump. After going 0-for-3 with a strikeout in Chicago's 6-2 loss to the Angels on Wednesday, he has one hit in his past 24 at-bats.
Mervis said the confidence the club is showing in him despite his struggles is helping him cope.
"The fact that I'm getting my opportunities and continuing to get at-bats when I'm going through this stretch is important for me," the first baseman said.
Mervis began the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .286 with six homers, 27 RBIs and a .962 OPS in 24 games. In 22 games with the Cubs, he is batting .176 with two homers, nine RBIs and a .531 OPS.
--Field Level Media