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OC Register: Angels’ Matt Thaiss enjoys return to catcher

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SEATTLE — For the past two seasons Matt Thaiss joked with Angels catching coach José Molina about getting back behind the plate.

The joke became a reality this year.

Thaiss was a catcher in college but he had been moved to first base as soon as the Angels drafted him 16th overall in 2016, until this spring when the team returned him to catching.

“I was excited when they brought it up to me in spring training,” Thaiss said this week. “It’s still a work in progress, but I feel I’ve made some big strides throughout the year down in Triple-A. I’m excited to keep going into the offseason.”

Thaiss is currently back in the majors as a catcher, although he hasn’t yet played a game behind the plate.

Manager Joe Maddon said the reports he’s heard about Thaiss’ progress behind the plate are encouraging.

“(Molina) worked with him a couple days ago and came back raving to me about how he looked behind the plate,” Maddon said. “Apparently he does a nice job just handling pitchers. His bedside manner with pitchers has been good. The ability to take charge of a game. Those things are there.”

Thaiss said what he missed most about catching was the chance to be “in control of the entire game. There’s no other position out there where you can really do that.”

Thaiss said he feels like he has a good understanding of swings and approaches, and that makes him able to help a pitcher find a hitter’s weak spot during a particular at-bat.

If Thaiss could develop into a major league-caliber catcher defensively, that would certainly enhance his chances of sticking in the big leagues.

Thaiss, 26, was drafted mostly on the strength of his bat. He has a career .201 average with a .687 OPS in 63 big league games over the past three seasons.

This year at Triple-A, Thaiss hit .280 with 17 home runs and an .879 OPS.


Reid Detmers will start for the Angels on Sunday. Detmers missed more than a month on the COVID-related injured list and then he pitched once earlier this week at Triple-A. Maddon said the Angels would be satisfied if Detmers gets to 75 pitches. …

The Angels made a paperwork move to get their 40-man roster back to 40. Hector Yan was activated from the Class-A injured list, so he had to be added back to the 40-man roster. Players on the COVID-related injured list, even in the minors, do not count against the 40-man roster. In order to clear a spot for Yan, Jo Adell was moved to the 60-day injured list. Adell is out for the season after suffering a left abdominal strain.


Angels (LHP Jhonathan Diaz, 1-0, 3.12 ERA) at Mariners (RHP Chris Flexen, 14-6, 3.67), Saturday, 6:10 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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