ANAHEIM — The Angels finally ran out of patience with Danny Espinosa.
The Angels cut ties with the veteran second baseman on Sunday morning, designating him for assignment after he had hit .162 in 72 games.
The Angels traded two minor league pitchers to the Washington Nationals for Espinosa in December, hoping he could provide good defense and some pop at the plate. He did the former, but not the latter.
“I think Danny brought some good things that helped us, but on the offensive side, the struggles were obvious,” Scioscia said.
In the final week before the All-Star break, Espinosa said he felt he was making progress at the plate, and his numbers would be back at his career averages if given the opportunity. As recently as Saturday afternoon, Espinosa was on the field for early batting practice.
The Angels, who have been slipping in the wild-card race as their offense has struggled, could no longer afford to wait for Espinosa, though. The move on Sunday created a roster spot for Parker Bridwell, who was called up from Triple-A to rejoin the starting rotation.
“Danny is an exceptional defensive player, but even if everything was working with (the other hitters on) our team, and the struggles as big as they were with Danny, you have to look to do something,” Scioscia said.
The first sign that the Angels’ patience was growing short with Espinosa was the Nick Franklin acquisition on June 30. Franklin is a veteran utilityman who has gotten the majority of the playing time at second since the deal. It’s likely now that Franklin and Cliff Pennington will platoon, with Pennington starting against left-handed pitchers.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Franklin was hitting .186 in 109 plate appearances this season, including 2 for 15 with the Angels. Franklin is hoping that regular playing time will help him improve offensively.
“It’s tough when you don’t have everyday at-bats,” Franklin said. “You are always searching… This season is halfway over and I…