After missing the first several days of summer camp, Los Angeles Angels’ utility-man Matt Thaiss has reported to the team’s training facility.
Since players began reporting on July 1st, one of the biggest names still missing at Angels’ camp had been Matt Thaiss. That ended on Sunday when infielder officially joined his teammates after missing the first 11 days of Spring Training 2.0.
Pursuant to MLB protocols, the Halos have been silent as to the reasoning behind his absence, leading to the speculation that he was being held out due to COVID-19 reasons. Teams are unable to disclose any health issues outside of standard work-related injuries without the player’s permission. The most the Angels could do was remain vague until they could announce his return to camp, which they did on Sunday (h/t Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times).
The 16th overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft, Thaiss made his major league debut in 2019, appearing in 53 games for the Angels. Over 164 plate appearances, he accrued a .211/.293/.422 batting line with eight home runs and 23 RBI. However, he was hitting .274/.390/.477 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI at Triple-A Salt Lake before his promotion in July.
Thaiss split 2019 between first and third base, but with Anthony Rendon now in place at the hot corner, he’ll likely be reduced to platoon work when Shohei Ohtani isn’t in the line-up and Albert Pujols sees at-bats at designated hitter. He’ll have company there, as the Angels have been vocal about also using Tommy La Stella and potentially David Fletcher at first as well. With that said, Thaiss can also be optioned to minor league camp as needed if the Halos decide to give him regular reps at the secondary camp.
As Thaiss had previously been added to the 60-man pool and had not been added to the injured list, the Angels do not need to open up a spot for him on the player pool. The pool currently sits at 60 players before considering any potential COVID-related injured list additions, which do not count toward the pool count.