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Starting pitcher Zach Plesac agrees to deal with Angels

Right-handed starting pitcher Zach Plesac and the Angels are in agreement on a major-league deal for the 2024 season, according to a person with knowledge of the contract unauthorized to speak about it publicly.

The deal is still pending a physical.

Plesac would join a rotation group that has Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, Tyler Anderson and Griffin Canning, with other starting options including Chase Silseth and José Suarez.

Plesac’s entrance to the league in 2019 certainly drew intrigue — a little-known young pitcher who Angels fans, for example, might remember getting shut out in a September game at Angel Stadium. But since his 2019 season, it has not been quite the same.

Plesac has had his share of struggles over the last few seasons, which included freak self-inflicted injuries and missing time in the big leagues for breaking COVID protocols in 2020.

In 2021, for example, he broke his thumb after aggressively ripping off his shirt in the clubhouse, former Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Franconia told reporters at the time. In 2022, he fractured his hand after punching the mound in frustration during a game.

Before the 2023 season, he said that he had not handled the mental aspect of the game that well.

“There were a lot of times when I could have focused on more positive things, rather than be fighting demons, so to say,” Plesac told MLB.com’s Mandy Bell in spring training last year.

Plesac’s 2023 — his final year with Cleveland which drafted him back in 2016 out of Ball State University — was particularly tough on the mound. He made just five starts (21.1 innings pitched) with a 7.59 earned-run average and a .374 opponent batting average.

The Guardians optioned him back to Triple A, where he made 18 starts (19 games played) with a 6.08 ERA and 2.67 average. The Guardians designated him for assignment in June.

The Angels’ glaring problem through 2023 was with their pitching. As far as starters go, they were so thin in the department that any injury to the rotation would spiral into an even trickier problem for a bullpen continuously taxed throughout the year.

If Plesac can rebound from his previous struggles, it would be all the better for the Angels in 2024. But, as the Angels are quite aware, one new player addition does not fix all their problems.

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