After making his debut in summer camp, Los Angeles Angels infielder Matt Thaiss confirms that he was delayed due to contracting the coronavirus.
Angels infielder Matt Thaiss made himself available to the media on Thursday, discussing what he did during the shutdown. However, the most notable talking points centered around the reasoning for his absence when summer camp commenced.
Thaiss returned to the team on Sunday, after missing the first eleven days of summer camp. While the initial communication about his delayed arrival left a lot up to interpretation, Thaiss confirmed on Thursday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
In talking with the media, including Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Thaiss noted that he had traced his infection to coming into contact with someone with whom he was working out in June. Since then, he has been forced to remain isolated until he could return two consecutive negative tests. Those requirements were finally satisfied on Sunday, after he was forced to undertake 10 to 11 saliva tests and a few “uncomfortable” nasal swabs.
In confirming his positive diagnosis, Thaiss is the second Angels player to publicly acknowledge having contracted the virus. Patrick Sandoval returned to camp last week after his own diagnosis. Like Thaiss, Sandoval contracted the virus through a seemingly innocuous activity. In his case, he played golf with someone that had the virus.
Thaiss made his MLB debut in 2019, appearing in 53 games for the Angels. While he played at roughly a replacement level with a 0.1 fWAR and a wRC+ of 89, he also showed solid pop with the bat, hitting eight home runs. He added 14 more at the minor league level.
Thaiss figures to be in the mix for a bench role in 2020, although the signing of Anthony Rendon squeezes him out of reps at third base, where he appeared in 43 games. That relegates him into the rotation at first, which also figures to be busy with Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher also expected to share time when Albert Pujols is in the DH slot.
The Angels begin their 2020 season on July 24th when they travel to face the Oakland Athletics for the fourth consecutive season opener.