Patrick Sandoval becomes the first Los Angeles Angels’ player to confirm a positive coronavirus diagnosis but is now focused on being healthy and returning to baseball.
Nine days before major league teams were scheduled to return to summer camp following the Coronavirus shutdown, Angels’ left-hander Patrick Sandoval had his plans thrown on their ear. After a seemingly innocuous round of golf, Sandoval learned that he had contracted the virus.
As expected, Sandoval was held out of joining the Angels in summer camp. However, the team had been unable to comment on his absence, owing in part to the rules preventing that disclosure without player approval.
Sandoval returned to camp on Thursday and threw his first bullpen session with the team on Sunday, per Rhett Bollinger at MLB.com. He spoke with the media on Monday to discuss his diagnosis.
“I kind of had an idea I had it, started feeling symptoms, got tested, found out next day, was a little scary at first,” Sandoval said. “Obviously, the virus has killed many people, and that’s sad and tragic, so that’s on your mind. The first two to three days, I had really really bad body aches in my back, unlike anything I’ve felt before,” Sandoval said. “Was pretty heavy for two days
Now that he’s got the virus behind him and has made it back to camp, Sandoval has to build himself back to being a contributor for the 2020 team. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though he has enough time to be ready for Opening Day, which takes him out of the running for one of the rotation spots.
The 23-year-old made his MLB debut in 2019, going 0-4 over 10 appearances (9 starts) with a 5.03 ERA, a 4.59 FIP, and a 9.6 K/9. However, the Angels were excited about the possibilities for the lefty after he had a 3.68 ERA and surrendered a .173/.292/.360 slash over his final six starts last season.
With a week remaining before the first game of the season on July 24th, that likely means that Sandoval remains in the secondary camp to start the season. That will leave the final two rotation spots up to Matt Andriese, Felix Pena, or Jaime Barria among others. Sandoval can then use the next two weeks to ramp up and then perhaps join the Angels later this summer.
As Sandoval was not on the injured list and was already part of the 60-man player pool, the Angels will not need to make any further moves to open up a spot in camp.