The Angels have been without top catching prospect Logan O’Hoppe since he suffered a torn labrum in late April, with a timetable for return of 4-6 months. Fortunately for the Halos, however, O’Hoppe appears to be on track to return at the early end of that timeframe, as the backstop told reporters (including The Athletic’s Sam Blum) that he’s set to go out on a rehab assignment next week. MLB.com adds that O’Hoppe is likely to require a maximum-length rehab assignment of 20 days as he attempts to build back up to game shape, though that should still line him up to make his return to the Angels before the calendar flips to September.
With fellow catcher Max Stassi having spent the entire season on the shelf due to hip issues, O’Hoppe’s injury has meant the Angels have relied on a catching tandem of Matt Thaiss and Chad Wallach throughout most of the 2023 campaign. That duo has allowed the club to maintain roughly league average performance behind the plate, as Angels catchers this season rank 16th in the majors with 1.4 fWAR while their wRC+ of 95 ranks 11th. O’Hoppe, who was a consensus top-50 prospect in the sport entering the season and slashed an impressive .283/.339/.547 (138 wRC+) in 59 trips to the plate prior to his injury, figures to provide the Angels with a major boost as they head into the stretch run of the 2023 campaign.
More from the Angels…
- Two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani is expected to make his regularly scheduled start on Wednesday against the Giants, as noted by J.P. Hoornstra of The Orange County Register. That’s surely a relief for Angels fans, given Ohtani exited his most recent start after just four innings due to finger cramping. It’s been another sensational season for Ohtani in 2023, as he seems to be the clear favorite to earn his second AL MVP award with free agency on the horizon following the 2023 campaign. On the mound, Ohtani has pitched to a 3.32 ERA and 4.07 FIP in 21 starts with a 31.8% strikeout rate, while he’s slashed .310/.413/.683 with an MLB-leading 40 home runs in 489 trips to the plate.
- Outfielder Taylor Ward saw his regular season likely come to an end last week when he was placed on the 60-day IL with facial fractures after being struck in the face by a sinker from Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah. Today, Angels brass provided on update on Ward’s condition, with manager Phil Nevin confirming that the outfielder underwent successful surgery yesterday to repair his left orbital bone and insert internal splints into his nose, per Hoornstra. While the loss of Ward is a major blow to the Angels in 2023, Nevin emphasized that the club “got the best news possible” regarding Ward’s condition as he appeared to avoid any damage to his vision. While ward, who slashed .278/.368/.500 from June 1 onward after a slow start to the season, is seemingly done for the regular season, a potential return in the postseason has not been ruled out, should the Angels manage to make it there.