The Angels placed catcher Max Stassi on the IL this evening, the team announced, and selected the contract of catcher Austin Romine to take his place on the active roster. As Stassi’s IL stint comes without an injury designation, it’s likely COVID-related, which would mean his time on the injured list has no minimum duration.
Signed to a three-year extension this March, Stassi has joined the rest of the league in getting off to a slow start this season. Through 19 games behind the plate, the 31-year-old has hit .200/.288/.354 (91 OPS+) with three home runs and strikeouts in more than one third of his at-bats. While Stassi is striking out in droves, he’s also walking at a career-best rate and is part of a league-best offense that’s been buoyed by otherworldly performances from outfielders Mike Trout and Taylor Ward.
With Stassi’s absence, the first-place Angels have now seen their Opening Day catching tandem hit the IL, with Kurt Suzuki hitting the IL for COVID-related reasons just a few days ago. Any lack of continuity behind the plate should be of some interest to Halos fans, as the duo has helped steer the team’s rotation into a top-10 run prevention unit this season.
The 33-year-old Romine will join the club for his 11th big league season, forming a new catching duo with recent call-up Chad Wallach. Signed to a minor league deal by the club in March, Romine is fresh off an injury-ruined season with the Cubs in which he hit .217/.242/.300. Those numbers have rebounded in a small Triple-A showing this year, but more importantly for the Angels (and their pitchers) the veteran catcher will bring a reputation as a sturdy defender to the big league club.