Geovany Soto parked himself in front of his locker Wednesday afternoon and began to sing.
“Don’t worry,” the Angels catcher crooned, “about a thing.”
He let himself get louder and louder, and, after a few refrains, he motioned over an Angel Stadium clubhouse attendant and asked if he could play the song loud enough for everyone to hear. Soon, they found a phone that had the Spotify app installed, cued up “Three Little Birds,” and plugged it into speakers.
Bob Marley’s voice radiated throughout the room: “‘Cause every little thing is gonna be all right.”
Heads began to bob. Soto continued to sing. Mike Trout asked to put it on repeat. It already was programmed to do so, Soto told him.
“I want to play it over and over,” Soto said.
For the Angels, there is much to worry about. They have started slowly and been beset by injuries to their struggling starting rotation. Earlier Wednesday, they turned to an unlikely source to buttress the staff, trading a rookie-league nonprospect to lowly Atlanta in exchange for right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who will start Saturday in Seattle.
Not long ago, Chacin was Colorado’s ace. But the Rockies designated him for assignment during 2015 spring training to avoid paying his full arbitration salary, and this will be his fifth organization since.
He’s 28 now. At 22, Chacin starred for Colorado and posted a 3.28 earned-run average, improbable considering half his starts came at Coors Field. He had a 3.60 ERA over the next three seasons, and then suffered through a variety of shoulder ailments and quickly lost nearly 3 mph off his fastball. So began his spiral through the fringes of Major League Baseball.
The Venezuela native went from Colorado to Arizona to Cleveland to Atlanta and, now, to Anaheim. With Cleveland’s triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, he was coached by current Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy, who was then the Indians‘ special assistant to player development.
Chacin made four major league starts for Arizona last season, at a 3.38 ERA, and five starts for Atlanta this year, at a 5.40 ERA. His 27-8 strikeout-walk ratio this year portends a better mark. In a limited sample, he has regained about half of the lost velocity.
He has always relied heavily on a sinker to get ground balls.
“He’s an experienced guy that has, I think, gotten his stuff back to where he can pitch well in the big leagues,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’ll give him his chance. Hopefully, he’s going to give us what we need to fill out our rotation.”
Chacin will complete a rotation currently composed of left-hander Hector Santiago and right-handers Matt Shoemaker, Nick Tropeano, and Jered Weaver. Only once this month has an Angels starter finished six innings in a start. Because of that and the corresponding stress placed upon their relievers, the Angels will carry an unorthodox nine-man bullpen before Chacin becomes part of the team.
“Until we really get our rotation settled, until we get these guys into their game and they pitch effectively until a certain point in the game, we’re gonna have to carry that extra pitcher right now,” Scioscia said.
The Angels sent 23-year-old left-hander Adam McCreery to Atlanta for Chacin. A 2014 draftee out of Azusa Pacific, McCreery has never pitched above rookie-league ball in two professional seasons and is not considered a prospect.
Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter: @pedromoura