ANAHEIM — Jared Walsh was an All-Star in 2021, a fixture in the Angels lineup and their everyday first baseman.
And then he wasn’t.
Walsh struggled offensively in 2022, batting .215/.269/.374 in 118 games and later was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. But that wasn’t the end of his troubles as earlier this year he dealt with neurological problems, including headaches and insomnia, which affected his swing and his position with the club.
While battling his ailments, Walsh hit .119 with one home run and five RBIs in 28 games before being designated for assignment by the Angels on July 27. Less than a month later, Walsh accepted an outright assignment to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, where he worked on his health and hitting.
Now, he’s back. Walsh was recalled back to the majors Thursday and answered any questions about his well-being and stroke with two big games.
Walsh came in as a pinch hitter and hit a solo home run in his only at-bat during Friday’s loss to the Detroit Tigers, blasting a 435-foot shot to right-center field. He followed that by going 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in Saturday’s extra-inning loss to the Tigers.
“It’s been huge,” Walsh said of his performance this weekend. “Any time you hit a home run in the major leagues it’s a special feeling. So, it’s been good; a lot of answered prayers.”
Walsh said he feels his cognition is returning, which in turn has improved the quality of his at-bats. He didn’t get a hit in Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Tigers in the series finale but he wasn’t discouraged.
“I feel like some of the fog and fatigue has really lifted,” he said. “I’ve kind of hit my stride, but unfortunately, it’s only with 15 games left or whatever it may be. But I’m really happy, noticeably better.
“I’ve hit for a long time so when things are going wrong, you kind of know. I just never felt sharp, I never felt like really in it, able to lock in attention-wise. Once that happened and I was able to focus, it’s been good.”
The Angles have Walsh playing in right field, but he said that doesn’t matter. Beggars can’t be choosers, he said.
He is simply happy to be playing again with the major league club.
SILSETH TO PITCH
Chase Silseth, who suffered a concussion Aug. 26, was scheduled to make a rehab start with Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday in Reno, according to Manager Phil Nevin.
Silseth ended up facing six hitters, and he retired only one. He threw 30 pitches.
During a start in New York, Silseth was trying to cover a base during a rundown, when a throw from first baseman Trey Cabbage struck him in the head.
“We’re excited about that,” Nevin said. “He flew out yesterday (to prepare). I talked to him and he feels good.”
TROUT TO JOIN THE TEAM ON THE ROAD
Mike Trout will join the team when travels to Tampa Bay for the start of a six-game trip that begins Tuesday. He missed the team’s last trip to Seattle.
Nevin said he expects Trout to start swinging the bat “really soon”, possibly on this trip that heads to Minnesota after a three-game series against the Rays.
“He wants to play this year; he’s voiced that many times,” Nevin said. “When he feels like it (pain) is tolerable to play in a game again, he will be out there. But I think he’s going to be more cautious this time as to what he was last time and not come out as aggressively.”
Trout, who has been sidelined because of a fractured hamate bone, attempted to return to the lineup but was back to the IL after one game.
“It’s safe to say that when he came back to play that game, and tried to get in there, he had a little bit of a setback as far as the pain of what he has in there,” Nevin said.
TIGERS 5, ANGELS 3
Left-hander Reid Detmers was sick and unavailable to pitch Sunday, leaving Nevin and the staff juggling the rotation for Sunday’s finale against the Tigers and beyond.
Right-hander Jimmy Herget started the game but threw only one inning and was replaced by Kenny Rosenberg, who Nevin said ahead of the game would see the bulk of the work.
Turned out it wasn’t his day — scheduled or otherwise — as Rosenberg (1-2) gave up five runs on seven hits as the Tigers swept the series.
The Tigers took a 5-0 lead on two home runs by Jake Rogers, the second a base-clearing blast to center field in the third inning. The additional run was scored on a fielder’s choice before Rogers came up to bat for the second time.
The Angels got one run back when rookie Nolan Schanuel scored on David Fletcher’s RBI single in the fifth inning. With two outs, Schanuel reached base on a double to left, extending his on-base streak to a franchise-best 22 games to start his season.
The Angels further trimmed the lead to 5-3 in the sixth on Randal Grichuk’s two-run homer.
Detmers’ scratch Sunday means that Patrick Sandoval (7-13, 4.4 ERA) will start Tuesday’s opener at Tampa Bay. Detmers could throw Wednesday, if healthy. Griffin Canning (7-7, 4.42 ERA) is scheduled to start Thursday.