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OC Register: Matt Thaiss thankful to be back with Angels after asymptomatic bout with coronavirus

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While the coronavirus has been deadly, or at least frightening, to many of its victims, for Matt Thaiss the experience was mostly just frustrating.

The Angels’ first baseman revealed on Thursday that he tested positive for the virus in June. He said he never felt any symptoms, but still had to quarantine for nearly a month and take more than a dozen tests before receiving the consecutive negatives he needed to rejoin the Angels.

“I’m very thankful I was healthy, but at the same time it’s a little frustrating when you feel perfectly fine,” Thaiss said. “It took me 20-something days of testing to test negative, and I was isolated for 28 or 29 days.”

Thaiss is the second Angels player to confirm that he had tested for the coronavirus, joining Patrick Sandoval. Sandoval tested positive a week after Thaiss, but returned to camp a few days before him.

Thaiss remained in Arizona after spring training shut down in March. He learned that someone he had worked out with on June 14 had been exposed to the coronavirus, he immediately began to isolate. A couple days later, Thaiss got a test that turned up positive.

From there, he was essentially stuck in his apartment, watching German soccer and taking dry swings in a mirror.

Because Thaiss had no symptoms, the Angels medical staff arranged him to be tested repeatedly. He said he took 10 to 12 saliva tests and “a couple” nasal swabs, “which were pretty uncomfortable.”

Thaiss said he texted and called Angels trainers Adam Nevala and Eric Munson “a little too many times” as he waited through the seemingly endless process.

“It was mentally defeating because every test I would wait 24 hours and get a phone call that I was still positive,” Thaiss said. “But our training staff and our doctors did a phenomenal job with me of staying in touch and staying on top of it. They just kept getting me tested. I know not everyone’s lucky enough to have that at their disposal, but I was.”

Thaiss passed the protocols — most significantly, two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart — to rejoin the Angels on Sunday. On Tuesday, they tossed him into an intrasquad game to hit only, and he got eight at-bats.

Although he arrived nearly halfway into camp, he said he still feels like he can be ready to be on the active roster for the July 24 opener. He said he played winter ball in the Dominican after just one day of live batting practice.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’m feeling ready and excited to get going.”


Joe Maddon said that Shohei Ohtani is scheduled for his next intrasquad outing on Sunday, which means it’s likely that the Angels have settled on Sunday as the day that Ohtani will pitch during the regular season.

The Angels plan to give Ohtani the day off before and after he pitches, so Sunday is a natural choice because the Angels have three off days on Mondays.

Andrew Heaney is scheduled to pitch in the intrasquad game on Saturday, which would give him five days rest before he’s scheduled to pitch the opener at Oakland next Friday.

Griffin Canning, Dylan Bundy and Matt Andriese will also start the season in the Angels rotation — barring any injuries — but it’s unclear at this point in what order they will pitch.

The return of Julio Teheran remains uncertain, although Maddon said “there’s a chance in the near future… It’s trending in the right direction.” The Angels have been unable to provide any information on Teheran, who is on the injured list, but Teheran told ESPN Deportes last week he was awaiting results of a coronavirus test.


Jose Rojas was scratched from the lineup for Wednesday night’s intrasquad game because of a migraine.

Thaiss, Jared Walsh, Luis Rengifo and Brandon Marsh — all late arrivals to camp — faced live pitching in a short simulated game on Thursday afternoon. Jacob Rhame, who was claimed on waivers from the New York Mets, was among the pitchers to work.

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