ANAHEIM ― The Angels will be without their backup catcher for the foreseeable future, and without their sixth starter for another week.
Kurt Suzuki was placed on the injured list Saturday. While the team did not specify a reason, Suzuki’s absence is ostensibly related to COVID-19 because he was replaced by Chad Wallach, a catcher who is not on the 40-man roster. No corresponding 40-man roster move was made.
Suzuki, the backup to Max Stassi, is hitting .179 with one home run and four RBIs in 12 games.
Players can be placed on the COVID-19 injured list because they were exposed to the coronavirus or exhibit symptoms; a positive test is not required. For IL placements of any other reason, the Angels would need to remove a player from the 40-man roster to make room for Wallach.
The Angels also optioned pitcher Jhonathan Diaz to Triple-A and selected the contract of reliever Kyle Barraclough. Diaz beat the Washington Nationals in his 2022 debut Friday, working around trouble for five scoreless innings.
It’s possible Diaz could return soon. The Angels have an off-day Thursday, which will enable them to deploy five starters (rather than the usual six) on regular rest until Saturday. A scheduled doubleheader that day in Oakland will allow for a 26th roster spot, which the Angels can use to bring Diaz back from Triple-A for the day.
Diaz, a 25-year-old left-hander from Venezuela, still has a chance to supplant Jose Suarez, a 24-year-old left-hander from Venezuela, as the team’s sixth starter.
“I’d like to see somebody settle into that” role, Manager Joe Maddon said.
Wallach, 30, could be in the Angels’ lineup as early as Sunday. The Fullerton product has played 78 major league games over the last five seasons, batting .207 with a .271 on-base percentage and .303 slugging percentage.
Barraclough, 31, had a strong spring training but was struck with a bout of COVID-19 on or around April 10, he said. He was limited to three appearances at Triple-A Salt Lake and did not allow a run in any of them.
The Nationals briefly employed Barraclough during their 2019 championship series. Barraclough said he received a World Series ring despite being designated for assignment at midseason. He made his 2022 debut in the sixth inning against Washington and threw two scoreless innings, allowing only a single to Juan Soto.
Griffin Canning said he threw 30 pitches in two “innings” of 15 pitches each off a mound Friday. He will face live hitters at Angel Stadium on Monday.
The right-hander, who is recovering from a lower back injury, said he is bouncing back better from his simulated outings after making some minor mechanical adjustments to lessen the load on his back.
“I feel like I’m back to being myself, commanding my fastball how I want to,” Canning said.
Canning will be built up as a starter, and could begin pitching on an every-fifth-day schedule next week.
Austin Warren will undergo surgery Tuesday, according to head athletic trainer Mike Frostad. The pitcher sustained a nasal fracture when he was struck by a stray ball hit in batting practice Tuesday in Boston. After surgery, Warren will need a week of rest before he resumes baseball activities, Frostad said.
Pitcher Jose Quijada (right oblique strain) played catch from up to 75 feet, Frostad said.
Pitcher Archie Bradley (abdominal strain) is progressing faster than expected, and could begin playing catch next week.
Washington (RHP Erick Fedde, 2-2, 4.68 ERA) at Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 1-1, 1.29 ERA), Sunday, 1 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830-AM