Stassi feels 'amazing,' comes off IL

June 2nd, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Angels inched closer to operating at full strength, activating catcher off the injured list after the backstop suffered a concussion in early May.

“I feel amazing,” Stassi said. “It was an unfortunate accident that happened. I went into that net pole pretty hard and had the concussion and my neck a little bit messed up there and my upper back. The medical staff did a phenomenal job to get me right and here I am today, ready to go.”

Stassi’s injury occurred May 4 when he was going for a popup in foul territory, tripping and awkwardly hitting his head on a pole near the opposing dugout. Stassi stayed in the game for the remainder of the eighth inning after hitting his head, but was pulled in the ninth and subsequently placed on the injured list on May 6.

Stassi said that he felt tired and irritable and experienced headaches the first several days after suffering the concussion, adding that the team sent him to a specialist in Park City, Utah, for further evaluation.

“It just got to the point where we weren’t sure,” said manager Joe Maddon. “We just went that route. I think we can all relate to this -- once you get definition and somebody that really is an expert in a field could assure us of certain things, then all of sudden, that might help the healing process.”

“The tricky thing is it’s your brain,” Stassi said. “You can’t see it, feel it like you would with a hamstring or quad or something like that. A lot of it is, like I said, the medical staff did a great job making sure that I was well taken care of. You just have to be honest. The thing is, as a competitor, you never want to miss time.”

Stassi isn’t the only player who’s had an unlucky injury this season as third baseman Anthony Rendon has been part of a pair of unfortunate incidents.

Rendon suffered a left groin strain playing in the cold and wet conditions of Dunedin, Fla., on April 10 when the Angels’ game against the Blue Jays ended up starting around 10 p.m. Several weeks later, Rendon fouled a ball off his left knee, suffering a contusion that sidelined him once again.

“The thing with injuries throughout the course of the year, and staying healthy, I think a lot of it is luck,” Stassi said. “You know, being lucky. If I don’t trip and we play that [April 10] game on time and [Juan] Lagares doesn’t tweak his calf and Rendon doesn’t tweak his groin on the wet surface out there -- it’s been wild with the freak injuries, I guess you could say.”

The Angels will certainly be glad to have Stassi back behind the dish. In Stassi’s absence, Los Angeles’ catchers have accrued an fWAR of -1.2, hitting .136/.174/.160 with a wRC+ of -6.

The aforementioned concussion injury along with a left thumb sprain have limited Stassi to 11 games this season, where he has slashed .241/.313/.345 with a homer.

“He’s one of the better receivers in the game,” Maddon said. “He’s definitely got some pop. He’s come through with a lot of big hits for us. He’s a really good Major League catcher that we’ve been missing.”

Worth noting

• With a double on Monday, first baseman Jared Walsh had three consecutive games with an extra-base hit. Coming into Tuesday, Walsh was hitting .306/.369/.570 with 12 home runs. Walsh’s 160 wRC+ ranked third among qualified first basemen, only behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (189) and Max Muncy (175).

• Kean Wong had his first career multi-hit game on Monday, a two-hit afternoon that included a 400-foot triple off the bricks in right field. At 101.4 mph, that triple was Wong’s hardest-hit ball this season.

Wong has been a net positive on defense in his three starts at second base as well, totaling one defensive run saved in 26 innings.