The Los Angeles Angels have gone the entire season without Jared Walsh. Coming off of Thoracic Outlet Surgery Walsh not being ready for Opening Day wouldn't have been shocking, but Walsh has missed the entirety of the 2023 season due to headaches and insomnia.
Walsh has played six games in AAA Salt Lake on a Rehab Assignment and is nearing a return. Many felt like a return for this upcoming homestand was realistic. While Walsh returning at some point during this nine-game homestand certainly feels probable at this point, the return will not happen tonight.
Is Jared Walsh in the LA Angels starting lineup tonight?
To nobody's surprise, Jared Walsh has torn up AAA. He's slashing .500/.643/.700 with one home run and five RBI in six games for the Bees. The home run he hit cut the Bees deficit to 8-7 and was the first of three home runs in a row with shots followed by Jo Adell and Trey Cabbage.
Walsh used left field which is what he does when he's at his best, and that slash line would tell you that he's seeing the ball incredibly well. I don't care that it's AAA, I find this incredibly encouraging.
When healthy, we know what Walsh can be. He was an all-star in 2021 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI. He's a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat who can mash against virtually any right-handed pitcher. Lefties are a different story, but the Angels have plenty of hitters who can mash lefties.
Not only will his bat be crucial, but Walsh's glove has been missed. While some of the errors have been non-avoidable, having a legit first baseman like Walsh there to pick poor throws is something the Halos have missed and is part of the reason they've had so many errors.
Walsh will not be in tonight's lineup as he wanted to play back-to-back games at first base. He played yesterday and will play tonight at first base for Salt Lake. After that? Who knows. Walsh could be back on Saturday, but even if he's not, it sounds like he'll be back at some point for this homestand which is crucial.