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OC Register: Angels’ Logan O’Hoppe grateful for Opening Day roster spot


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ANAHEIM — The waterworks began almost immediately, as soon as Angels manager Phil Nevin let catcher Logan O’Hoppe know that the rookie had made the Opening Day roster.

Left in tears were O’Hoppe’s parents, who were let in on the moment last week from the manager’s office through a FaceTime call.

“Yeah, so O’Hoppes are criers and there were definitely some tears going on,” O’Hoppe said Tuesday. “But yeah, it’s been a little bit of a whirlwind. It’s a lot to process, but just so grateful for it all.”

Nevin pulled off his sleight of hand by saying he wanted to catch up with O’Hoppe’s father. Nevin and Michael O’Hoppe hit it off this spring.

Not quite fooled was Logan O’Hoppe himself. He is perceptive like that, despite being just 23, with his ability not to be caught off guard just one of a myriad of reasons the club thinks he will have a long, productive major league career.

“(Nevin) came in the locker room and said, ‘Come with me and bring your phone,’” Logan O’Hoppe said. “And then he asked how my dad was doing. Him and pops have developed a good relationship the past few months. So I said he was good and he had me call him up. And that’s when I had a good idea. And it was a special moment for everybody.”

O’Hoppe is not only the Angels’ top prospect, he is the No. 53 overall prospect in baseball as ranked by mlb.com and No. 42 by Baseball America.

“When I mentioned it to a lot of those pitchers, they were all excited,” Nevin said about letting players on the team know of the O’Hoppe decision. “They were happy for him and, in general, really the whole team was.

“They know what he’s put into and it just shows you what kind of guy he is. He’s walked into that room and he’s shown a lot of instant leadership qualities you don’t see from somebody who just turned 23. That’s very rare for a kid coming up from the minor leagues.”

Acquired by the Angels last August in the deal that sent Brandon Marsh to the Philadelphia Phillies, O’Hoppe did not take long to make an impression. He batted .306 with a 1.147 OPS with the Angels’ Double-A team after the trade. It earned him five late-season games with the Angels in 2022.

Now he is expected to get the bulk of the playing time at catcher, at least at the outset, while bringing up the rear in a lineup that turns over to guys like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani at the top.

“Yeah, it’s super humbling, super humbling,” O’Hoppe said. “I’d be lying If I didn’t say I looked at it and thought, ‘What the hell am I doing there?’ But no, I mean, I’m settling in now and I feel more comfortable and really happy to get going.”

WELCOME BACK

Infielder David Fletcher was available for Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers after missing a few games with a groin injury and is in line to start the regular season on the active roster.

Nevin said on Sunday it looked as if Fletcher might need to start the season on the injured list, but he has recovered enough to alleviate those concerns.

CENTURY CLUB

Despite an erratic spring for Ohtani, where he spent some time in Arizona before departing to Japan and Miami for the World Baseball Classic, the right-hander is available to throw at least 100 pitches in Thursday night’s season opener against the Oakland A’s.

“If he looks good and feels fine up until the (100 pitch) point, I’m more than comfortable with him going there,” Nevin said.

SIXTH WHEEL

One of the major decisions left for the Angels to reveal is the winner of the battle for the No. 6 spot in the rotation between left-hander Tucker Davidson and right-hander Griffin Canning.

Nevin suggested the decision had been made with the team holding off on revealing the choice.

“There is a possibility that sixth spot, maybe we don’t use it right off the bat and maybe we do,” General Manager Perry Minasian said. “If we don’t use it right off the bat, then he’s in the bullpen and provides a link there.

“So we’ll discuss that over the course of the next week and see how the games go and how everybody feels and all those things. But is there a possibility that person pitches out of the ’pen? Absolutely.”

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