CLEVELAND — The Angels are out of playoff contention, but the final month and a half of the season will be important for left-hander Jason Vargas, who is expected to return to the rotation next week after sitting out seven weeks because of a blood clot in his armpit, which was surgically removed June 26.
Vargas, who gave up four hits, including three homers, in 4 2/3 innings for triple-A Salt Lake Thursday, will be a free agent this winter, and he’ll have eight or nine starts to prove he is worthy of the types of deals — in the four-year, $50-million range — pitchers of his caliber and experience have gotten in recent winters.
“I’d like to pitch in a big league game before I even start thinking about that,” said Vargas, who was 6-4 with a 3.65 earned-run average in 14 starts before going on the disabled list. “It just all depends on how things play out.”
The Angels are interested in retaining Vargas, who grew up in Apple Valley and pitched at Long Beach State, and Vargas said it would be appealing to remain with a team “that’s well put together and is in the area you grew up.” But what about the fact the Angels will probably miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year?