NEW YORK -- The second half is a very important one for three Angels players with lingering club options in their contracts. Two of them are struggling starters Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, who have 2013 options worth $15.5 million and $13 million, respectively.
The other is catcher Chris Iannetta, who can't seem to get back on the field.
Iannetta is working on his third month on the disabled list right now. It began with May 11 surgery on his right wrist, and has continued due to a right forearm strain suffered from trying to come back too fast. For next season, Iannetta -- acquired from the Rockies in exchange for pitcher Tyler Chatwood in the offseason -- has a $5 million option in his contract. That's pretty affordable for a solid player at a premium position with scarce talent elsewhere, but these next three months can have a lot of say in the Angels' decision to exercise it.
Iannetta knows one thing.
"I would love to be back here," he said prior to Friday's series opener at Yankee Stadium. "I think it's a great team and a great organization, a chance to win in an awesome location and city. There's not a better opportunity that I can foresee at this point. I'd like to be back here. Definitely would."
And you'd think the Angels would love to have Iannetta, considering general manager Jerry Dipoto traded for him, and their offense behind the plate is very shaky without him. But in their system, the Angels have Hank Conger, who's 24, is completing his seventh pro season, and is playing well at Triple-A.
"That's something that I could either think about and worry about, or just worry about getting back and just letting it take care of itself," Iannetta said. "If for some reason something happens, and it doesn't turn out the way I would like, I can't do anything about it. The only thing I can do is try to get back healthy, and once I'm back healthy, play as well as I can. That's going to dictate what happens in the future."
Iannetta's getting there. He has extended his throwing program to about 150 feet -- and that's as far as he'll stretch it -- and is scheduled to throw to bases when the team gets to Detroit early next week. If that goes well, he should finally progress toward a rehab assignment.
"It's very frustrating," Iannetta said of the recovery process. "The only thing that's keeping me in a good place is that the team is winning. If we were struggling, it'd be even harder."