The Angels announced on Monday that they’ve acquired right-hander David Hernandez from the Braves in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Hernandez isn’t on the 40-man roster, but the veteran righty could conceivably join the Halos’ Major League club in the near future to add some depth to a relief corps that has lost Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Huston Street and Mike Morin to injuries already in 2017.

Hernandez, 32 next month, spent the 2016 season with the Phillies, where he logged a 3.84 ERA with 9.9 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 with a 37.3 percent ground-ball rate in 72 2/3 innings. While he opened the season as the closer in Philly last year, he quickly relinquished the role following an ugly start to the year. Hernandez rebounded to finish the year with useful numbers, and while his career 4.10 ERA isn’t necessarily impressive, he’s a relatively hard-thrower (average 94 mph fastball in 2016) that has punched out 9.1 hitters per nine innings pitched in parts of seven Major League seasons.

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The injury to Madison Bumgarner and the slow start from the Dodgers has created an unexpected window for the Rockies and Diamondbacks in the National League West, argues Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. While both Colorado and Arizona come with some question marks — the Rockies will soon be trotting out a three-rookie rotation, while the D-backs are braced for a potential injury to a somewhat improved Shelby Miller — both teams are stocked with emerging talent. First-year managers Bud Black and Torey Lovullo both spoke to Rosenthal on Sunday about their teams’ quick starts to the year. Interestingly, Black suggested that it’s possible that Ian Desmond will see some time in the outfield upon his return from a fractured hand, as that would allow him to get both Mark Reynolds and Desmond into the lineup against tougher left-handed starters. While the season is still in its early stages and much can change — the D-backs and Rockies were both .500 on this day last year, and the White Sox had baseball’s third-best record — the influx of young talent and return of injured stars in both Colorado and Arizona at least gives both clubs optimism that they could soon return to contention.

More from the NL West…

  • In the wake of Madison Bumgarner’s injury, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News opines that tanking the 2017 season might not be the worst thing for the long-term future of the Giants. Baggarly notes that the front office still has several months to make this determination, but his argument stems from the fact that the rest of the NL West is getting younger and more athletic with the arrival of young talent from the minor leagues. Trading players such as Johnny Cueto and Eduardo Nunez this summer would pave the way for San Francisco’s own top young talent (Tyler Beede and Christian Arroyo) to arrive in the Majors and would also replenish the minor league ranks (as would a high pick in the 2018 draft). The Giants needn’t employ a long-term rebuild, Baggarly notes, as they could reasonably expect significant contributions out of Bumgarner and injured southpaw Will Smith next season, plus perhaps either (or both) of the aforementioned Beede and Arroyo.
  • Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron argues the opposite, meanwhile, writing that despite the injury to Bumgarner and a 6-13 start to the year, the Giants shouldn’t punt on the season. Cameron notes that the Giants are far from the only underperforming club that entered the season as a projected contender. The Mets, Cardinals and Pirates have all gotten off to poor starts and suffered significant losses, while the division-favorite Dodgers are also below .500. Cameron adds that Arroyo and Beede can both be auditioned without making trades to free up space — he suggests shifting Nunez to left field and simply plugging Beede into Bumgarner’s vacant rotation slot — and also notes that both Cueto and Nunez would come with limited trade value. Cueto, he points out, would be valued as a rental but come with the downside of potentially being stuck with the remaining four years on his contract should he incur an injury.

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Here are the day’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Twins will select the contract of right-hander Nick Tepesch from Triple-A Rochester prior to tonight’s game, two sources tell Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links). Minnesota recently optioned fifth starter Adalberto Mejia to Triple-A and placed long reliever Justin Haley on the 10-day DL, so Tepesch could conceivably fill either of those spots (though the Twins already made a pair of corresponding roster moves, recalling Kennys Vargas and Buddy Boshers). The 26-year-old Tepesch inked a minor league deal with Minnesota this offseason and has fired 18 innings with a 2.00 ERA and a 17-to-4 K/BB ratio so far in Triple-A. In 223 Major League innings — most of which came with the Rangers when Twins GM Thad Levine was an assistant GM in Texas — Tepesch has a 4.68 ERA with 5.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 43.5 percent ground-ball rate. The corresponding 25-man and 40-man roster moves for Tepesch’s arrival remain unclear.

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The Nationals’ bullpen is off to a dismal start tot the season, with a collective 4.86 ERA through the season’s first three weeks. Young Blake Treinen has already been removed from the closer’s role, albeit with a relatively quick hook (he’s thrown just seven innings this year). Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley are presently sharing ninth-inning work, and they’re two of just three Nats relievers that have ERAs south of 5.00 to begin the year. (Matt Albers has not allowed a run in four innings.)

In light of those struggles, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM reports that the Nats have “touched base” with multiple teams on their closers. Specifically, he cites a pair of names that are no stranger to trade rumors: David Robertson of the White Sox and Alex Colome of the Rays. However, Bowden adds that the Nats “aren’t even in the same ballpark” when it comes to the asking price on those players.

Robertson, 32, has allowed just one run through his first 6 2/3 innings this season and logged an impressive 12-to-3 K/BB ratio along the way. He’s earning $12MM this season (of which about $10.6MM remains) and will earn $13MM next year in the final season of a four-year, $46MM contract. The 28-year-old Colome, meanwhile, has yet to allow a run this year, though he’s curiously punched out just four hitters through nine innings after posting a gaudy 11.3 K/9 rate in a breakout 2016 campaign. He’s not yet arbitration eligible and can be controlled through the 2020 season, so it’s hardly surprising to hear that Tampa Bay’s asking price may be quite lofty.

As alternative options, Bowden lists Brandon Kintzler of the Twins, Brandon Maurer of the Padres and any of the Athletics’ late-inning arms, which include Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Santiago Casilla. It should be noted, though, that there’s no specific mention of trade talks with any of those clubs, so the suggestions seem fairly speculative in nature.

Furthermore, each of those names comes with a caveat. Kintzler’s experience as a closer is highly limited, and a year ago at this time he was in Triple-A after signing a minor league deal with Minnesota. As a free agent at season’s end, though, he’s a natural trade candidate. Maurer is controllable through 2019, which could create a significant asking price, and he hasn’t exactly established a track record of dominance himself. And when it comes to the A’s, Doolittle is on a terrific contract, while Madson’s three-year, $22MM looks to be an overpay. Casilla, meanwhile, can’t even be traded without his consent until June 15 given the fact that he only signed with Oakland as a free agent this past offseason (a two-year, $11MM deal).

The Nationals, according to Bowden, believe that the 24-year-old Glover can be their closer of the future, but there’s some question in the organization about whether it’s too early in his career to hand him the job. Glover has just 27 1/3 MLB innings under his belt and has been solid but not overpowering in that time; the former eighth-rounder has a 4.28 ERA, a 22-to-8 K/BB ratio and a 42 percent ground-ball rate in his young career.

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Yoenis Cespedes was out of the Mets’ lineup for the third straight game Sunday, leaving manager Terry Collins to acknowledge that the left fielder could head to the disabled list if his left hamstring issue doesn’t heal by Tuesday (via ESPN.com). “I think we’d need to take a look at that,” Collins said of a potential DL stint for Cespedes, who did tell the skipper he “felt a lot better” Sunday. Cespedes has mashed this season for the slow-starting Mets (.263/.377/.632 with six home runs in 69 plate appearances), but they’re nonetheless decently equipped to handle his short-term absence. Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares give the Cespedes-less club a full complement of major league-caliber outfielders.

  • Red Sox left-hander David Price will throw a 45- to 50-pitch bullpen session Monday as he tries to work back from forearm trouble, per Ben Standing of MLB.com. Price still seems a ways off from making his 2017 debut, but a positive showing Monday would put him in position to face live hitters sometime soon. “Once we get through [Monday’s] work session and kind of begin to map out a little more of a structure on a calendar, I think we’re at that point [of facing batters],” said manager John Farrell. “Anytime you get to the number of pitches thrown that will be tomorrow, you can start to foresee a progression to hitters and ultimately to games, but we don’t have that in place right now.”
  • The Rangers continue to play it safe with third baseman Adrian Beltre in his recovery from a right calf strain, meaning he probably won’t debut until May, relays Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “I think we need to continue to rehab,” said manager Jeff Banister. “The conservative nature is probably in our best interest.” Meanwhile, after upper back spams slowed Tyson Ross’ comeback from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, the expectation is that the right-hander will resume throwing from a mound by the end of the upcoming week, Banister told George.
  • Orioles closer Zach Britton will see a hand specialist Monday, after which he could resume throwing, writes Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Britton went on the disabled list last Sunday with a forearm strain – a scary injury for a pitcher – but an MRI came back clean on Friday. The Orioles believe sending the ace reliever to a specialist will help prevent a forearm strain from rearing its head again in the future, Ghiroli notes.
  • Center fielder Joc Pederson left the Dodgers’ win over the Diamondbacks on Sunday with right groin tightness, and the likelihood is that he’ll miss some games, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. The Dodgers, already dealing with injuries to outfielders Andre Ethier and Franklin Gutierrez, will re-evaluate Pederson on Monday. A 25-plus-home run hitter in each of first two major league seasons, Pederson has gotten off to a sluggish start this year, with a .220/.322/.340 batting line and only one homer in 59 PAs.

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The Diamondbacks could be in for bad news regarding right-hander Shelby Miller, who, as Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com tweets, exited his start Sunday with forearm tightness. Arizona is scheduling an MRI for Miller, who lasted four-plus innings and allowed three earned runs in a loss to the Dodgers. Manager Torey Lovullo is trying to be optimistic, notes Bloom, but Steve Gilbert of MLB.com observes (on Twitter) that the situation is “not good.” Forearm tightness often portends Tommy John surgery, which would be the biggest setback yet in Miller’s rocky tenure with the Diamondbacks. The club’s previous regime drew seemingly endless criticism for sending a Dansby Swanson– and Ender Inciarte-led package to the Braves for Miller two winters ago. General manager Dave Stewart and senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson lost their jobs last fall after Miller struggled through a 2016 to forget, pitching to a 6.15 ERA in 101 major league innings and enduring a demotion to the minor leagues. Thanks in part to improved velocity, though, Miller has fared respectably this year with a 4.09 ERA and 3.29 FIP in 22 frames.

More from the National League:

  • With an .095/.186/.127 batting line in 70 plate appearances, Mets infielder Jose Reyes has been among the majors’ worst players this year. Nevertheless, the Mets aren’t considering releasing the 33-year-old, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig, who casts doubt on the possibility of the team cutting him even if his performance doesn’t improve soon. Reyes makes a minimum salary and is a speedy switch-hitter who can play shortstop, all of which are facts that work in his favor, Carig writes. While the Mets have an elite shortstop prospect in Amed Rosario, who has slashed .355/.382/.353 in 55 PAs this season, a promotion for him isn’t imminent, sources told Carig. The Mets don’t want to rush either the 21-year-old Rosario or first base prospect Dominic Smith (also 21) to the majors.
  • Phillies left fielder Howie Kendrick’s previously reported abdominal strain is actually an oblique strain, one that’s likely to keep him out until “sometime in the early to mid part of May,” GM Matt Klentak informed Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice. With Kendrick unavailable for a while, Klentak acquired infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly from the Blue Jays on Saturday. It turns out the Klentak-led Phillies had Kelly on their radar in the past. “Kelly is a guy who was on waivers twice in the last few months, and both times that he was passing through waivers we were intrigued by him and would have liked to have placed a claim but our roster was in a position where he couldn’t do it,” Klentak said. “But now with the ability to transfer (Clay) Buchholz to the (60-day DL) and free up a spot, we were able to acquire him.” Aaron Altherr, not Kelly, will see the majority of time in left while Kendrick’s out, Lawrence notes.
  • The Nationals will place righty Stephen Strasburg on the paternity leave list Monday, meaning he’ll miss his scheduled start Tuesday in Colorado, reports Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com. Washington is likely to recall Jacob Turner to fill Strasburg’s void for a start, while the latter will return in time to take the mound either Friday or Saturday.

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The Nationals announced that they have sent infielder Grant Green outright to Triple-A Syracuse. Washington designated the out-of-options Green for assignment on Friday, and he subsequently cleared waivers.

Green’s stay with the Nats this month lasted just over a week, aligning with the DL placements of shortstops Trea Turner and Stephen Drew. Once Turner came back, there was no longer a need for Green, who only appeared in two games and collected three plate appearances. A first-round pick of the Athletics in 2009 (No. 13 overall), Green has has cracked the majors in five straight seasons, but the journeyman has hit just .248/.283/.336 in 353 trips to the plate.

The 29-year-old Green spent last season with the Giants organization and slashed a respectable .319/.336/.454 in 364 PAs with their Triple-A club. Overall, he has hit an impressive .309/.351/.466 in 3,223 Triple-A PAs.

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