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OC Register: Angels’ Jared Walsh speaks of progress but no timetable for return


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ANAHEIM — Finally able to get some answers for a neurological issue best described as an 18-month hangover, Angels first baseman Jared Walsh sounded upbeat Friday as he navigates a path toward taking the field again.

Working with doctors and rehabilitation specialists based in Utah, Walsh has been moving away from symptoms that had been causing insomnia and headaches. The problems came to a head during spring training, even as Walsh was 14 for 35 (.400) with a 1.198 OPS. He had two home runs and four doubles in Cactus League play.

“It’s actually been bothering me for about a year and a half,” Walsh said from his Angel Stadium locker on Friday. “A lot of neurological symptoms and I couldn’t really get an answer on what was going on. Pretty concerning stuff. So I wanted to know, is this something I’m going to deal with for the rest of my life? Is it something that I can manage? Can it get better? So luckily, I feel like I found some answers to that.”

Walsh hit the injured list just before the season began, with Manager Phil Nevin calling the move “a quality-of-life thing.” The left-handed hitter bemoaned the timing of the IL move, but he has no regrets about seeking help when he did.

“I believe in this team, I think we’re going to be playing meaningful baseball down the stretch,” said Walsh, who took batting practice on the field with his teammates Friday. “I kind of knew that I was going to run out of gas if I didn’t get some answers and figure out what was going on, if I couldn’t improve the sleep, couldn’t improve the recovery.

“For me, it was like it’s a business decision, you know? I gotta do what I can to get myself right, not only for my daily life but for the guys on this team so that I can provide value throughout the season.”

There remain no firm answers on what caused the issue. Walsh has been told it could have been the result of developing COVID three times since June 2020. His symptoms are similar to someone who has had a traumatic brain injury, but he said he has never had one.

“I almost felt like I was hungover for the last year and a half, just walking around feeling fuzzy and not feeling sharp, and as nasty as these (pitchers) are, you got no chance if you’re not feeling sharp,” he said. “So I feel like slowly but surely that’s kind of coming back, that crispness and that energy level that I’m looking for.”

Walsh, who has 54 career home runs in 325 major league games, is now refining his baseball skills again. As far as being physically fit, he says he has never felt stronger since intense cardio work is part of his rehab program.

“It’s just more day-to-day and seeing how feels but he looks good and he’s feeling really good,” Nevin said. “But to put a timetable on it, we just can’t right now. He’s been off for a little while and still getting some clarity on the things that were wrong with him, but he certainly feels a heck of a lot better and it’s nice to see him out here with the guys.”

O’HOPPE TO IL

The Angels put rookie catcher Logan O’Hoppe on the IL with a left shoulder injury and purchased the contract catcher Chad Wallach, who was put right into the starting lineup and behind the plate for a Shohei Ohtani start against the Kansas City Royals on Friday.

O’Hoppe had been struggling with his shoulder on the road trip and came out of Thursday’s game at Yankee Stadium after a swing that knocked him to the ground while in intense pain.

There remains no firm diagnosis of O’Hoppe’s injury.

“We’ve just kind of got to see how it feels over the next couple days,” Nevin said. “He’s going to be with the doctors so that’s really all I got for you. He feels better today but obviously still disappointed and everybody feels for him. It was a tough thing to watch.”

MORE MOVES

In addition to adding Wallach, the Angels also purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Austin Warren from Triple-A Salt Lake, while right-handed reliever Jimmy Herget was optioned.

With one spot on the 40-man roster needed, the club designated right-hander Justin Garza for assignment.

Herget was 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in eight relief appearances, giving up two runs over one inning to the Yankees on Thursday. He pitched two scoreless innings in New York on Tuesday.

ALSO

Mike Trout was not in the lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Royals, getting a break after he went 5 for 13 with a double in three games at Yankee Stadium this week. Trout last hit a home run on April 8 at home against the Toronto Blue Jays. Luis Rengifo was in center field and batting seventh.

UP NEXT

Royals (RHP Zack Greinke, 0-3, 4.03 ERA) at Angels (LHP Tyler Anderson, 1-0, 6.75 ERA), Saturday, 6:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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