Angels Ace Sidelined For Opening Day

When you look at the Angels roster and the rest of the American League West, you think that the only thing that can derail another playoff appearance is injuries.

So Angels fans need to hope this is not the start of a trend.

Angels ace John Lackey has been shut down because of elbow tightness, an injury that knocked the right-hander out of Friday's exhibition start and could jeopardize his scheduled opening-day start against Oakland on April 6.

The injury, which flared up in Lackey's last game, against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, could also muddle negotiations between the pitcher and the team on a contract extension. There have been discussions about a potential deal since early March.

Speaking of injury trends — if Lackey is out, that is two Angels starters who will miss the opening of the season. Ervin Santana has a sprained elbow ligament and will miss April.

Lackey had some arm trouble at the start of last season and began the year on the DL the as well. Of course, he went on to be 12-5 with a 3.75 ERA. He is the ace of the staff right now.

The Angels want to lock him up at a fair price, although the two sides differ as to what that could be in this economy. Lackey reportedly wants five years, $90 million (give or take). Lately, nobody outside the Bronx is giving out those kinds of deals, but the situation could be different next winter.

Lackey has said if he doesn’t have a deal by April 1 he will test the free agent market next winter. He might want to ask Manny Ramirez about that first.

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