ANAHEIM -- Even though he was just a rookie, catcher Logan O’Hoppe was one of the Angels’ most indispensable players.
So that’s why it was so devastating for the Angels and O’Hoppe to find out he tore his left labrum on a swing on Thursday at Yankee Stadium and will be out four to six months. O’Hoppe initially injured his shoulder on a swing at Fenway Park on April 17 but said he felt fine before reinjuring it on a swing that resulted on a single to left field.
O’Hoppe was optimistic it wasn’t going to be a serious injury but he could now miss the rest of the season. He’ll get a better timeline after undergoing surgery this week. But it’s still a tough blow for O’Hoppe, an early AL Rookie of the Year candidate who was hitting .283/.339/.547 with four homers, two doubles and 13 RBIs in 16 games.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” O’Hoppe said. “You do everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t happen. One thing I have been telling myself the past couple of days is that sitting around and feeling sorry for myself isn’t going to help any situation. I look at it like a challenge.”
It’s also going to be a challenge for the Angels to replace O’Hoppe, as they lack catching depth, much like most teams around the league. Max Stassi, who was expected to be the club’s primary catcher this season, remains out with a hip strain and is also attending to a family emergency. There’s no timeline for his return.
With O’Hoppe and Stassi out, the Angels will lean on veteran Chad Wallach and Matt Thaiss, as manager Phil Nevin said he’ll rotate those two players based on matchups.
Wallach, 31, has experience -- he's caught 92 games over parts of seven Major League seasons and is regarded as a solid defender -- but is a career .197 hitter in the Majors.
Thaiss, 27, has caught just 19 games in the Majors and 99 in the Minors, as he caught in college but was moved to the infield after being selected as a first-rounder in ‘16. He returned to catching in 2021 and is a career .200 hitter in 100 games with the Angels over parts of the last five seasons.
“I feel good about what we currently have,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said. “Matt’s developing on a day-to-day basis. He’s getting better every day. Chad’s been there and done that. He’s a veteran who has caught playoff games and can handle a pitching staff.”
At Triple-A Salt Lake, the Angels have Chris Okey, who played in seven games with the Reds last year, and Anthony Mulrine, who has yet to reach the Majors. Okey, 28, is a career .207 hitter in seven Minor League seasons, while Mulrine, 25, is a career .195 hitter in four seasons in the Minors.
The Angels, though, do have No.3 prospect Edgar Quero at Double-A Rocket City and the catcher has hit at every level, including this season. He has a career .302/.435/.517 slash line with 18 homers and 81 RBIs in 161 games in the Minors, including hitting .385/.529/.538 with six doubles and 10 RBIs in 11 games at Double-A this year.