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Dustin Garneau’s first stint with Angels is a real homecoming

ANAHEIM — Angels catcher Dustin Garneau grew up in San Pedro. He attended San Pedro High, then Cal State Fullerton, then traversed the minor-league landscape of the Colorado Rockies’ system for parts of nine seasons.
Wednesday, he learned what it was like to drive from his house to his office.
“I live two exits up the freeway,” he said.
One day after he was pulled from a Triple-A game in Sacramento, Garneau was selected to the Angels’ 40-man roster and joined the major league club for Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins. He takes the place of backup catcher Kevan Smith, who was placed on the seven-day injured list. The seven-day IL is reserved for players diagnosed with a concussion, the unfortunate byproduct of a foul ball that caromed off Smith’s mask on Tuesday night.
Garneau, 31, signed a minor league contract last November with the Angels, his fourth organization. He was batting .247 for Salt Lake with a .368 on-base percentage and .589 slugging percentage at the time of his call-up.
A veteran of 696 minor league games, Garneau has appeared in 88 major league games with the Rockies, A’s and White Sox. He has a .194 batting average and five home runs in 252 MLB at-bats.
“Good receiver,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said of Garneau. “He’s been swinging the bat well in Salt Lake, takes a lot of pride in working with the pitchers, which is important. He’ll fit right in.”
Although Garneau’s next game in an Angels uniform will be his first since spring training, the organization has taken steps to ensure a seamless transition from the minors to the majors. All the Angels’ catchers were briefed on signs in spring training. Hitting coach Shawn Wooten is with Salt Lake now, Ausmus said.
“I’ve been working with … all the hitting guys to change my swing for the better,” Garneau said. “I got real comfortable the last couple weeks with all the big changes I made. And with my receiving and catching stuff, it’s been all Eddy (Rodriguez) the catching coordinator with Jake Guzman too. It’s been fun working through some stuff.”
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons met with a foot and ankle specialist Wednesday, one day after he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a Grade 3 sprain in his left ankle. He was not given a formal timetable for a return to game action.
Simmons said the specialist was able to formally rule out the possibility of surgery. He’s expected to keep his foot in a protective boot for another 1-2 weeks, until his swelling subsides to the point where he’s able to walk without the boot. At that point, he can resume throwing, working out, and other baseball activities. Simmons will presumably need a minor league rehabilitation assignment after that.
If the Grade 2 sprain that befell Simmons’ right ankle last year is any indication, the 29-year-old shortstop will exceed whatever expectations are set forth for this recovery.
“Normal might have taken like three weeks,” he said of the last ankle sprain. “But I thought I was ready to play after like five, six days. It was still not ideal, but you know. I’m not expecting that quick a recovery, but I’m hoping for a miracle.”
Andrew Heaney is expected to throw a bullpen on Friday. The left-hander remains a candidate to start Sunday’s game against the Texas Rangers, an assignment that is still officially to be determined.
Heaney hasn’t faced major league hitters since March, when he was beset by elbow inflammation. In a rehab start with Salt Lake on Monday, he struck out 10 batters in 4⅔ innings.
“I threw like two-thirds of an inning in spring training so there wasn’t any progression,” Heaney said. “I had nothing to start from. The goal was to simulate what a spring training progression would be. … I’ve been feeling good physically and mechanically for weeks now.”
The Angels’ starting rotation is full, and Ausmus said he’s considered moving to a six-man rotation. Griffin Canning and Tyler Skaggs are scheduled to start Friday and Saturday, respectively, against the Texas Rangers. Beyond that is anyone’s guess.
“Let’s wait to see what happens with Heaney first before we start slotting other people,” Ausmus said. “We don’t wanna go to a seven-man rotation. One step at a time.”
The Angels have a day off Thursday.
Rangers (LHP Drew Smyly, 0-3, 6.51 ERA) at Angels (RHP Griffin Canning, 2-1, 3.80 ERA), Friday, 7:07 p.m., Fox Sports West, 830 AM

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