Angels to call up third-base prospect Ward

Former first-round pick expected to be activated Tuesday

August 14th, 2018
Taylor Ward scores on a single by David Fletcher in the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs in an exhibition baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, April 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Christine Cotter)Christine Cotter/AP

SAN DIEGO -- It won't be official until Tuesday, but third baseman Taylor Ward is finally getting his first crack at the Majors.
Ward, who is ranked the Angels' No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, joined the Angels on Monday at Petco Park and is expected to be activated on Tuesday. A first-round Draft pick of the Angels in 2015, Ward has emerged as an offensive force this season, batting .349 with a .977 OPS, 14 home runs and 60 RBIs in 102 games between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake.
Ward, 24, was originally drafted as a catcher before making the transition to third base this season. The Angels believe his breakthrough at the plate is tied to the position change, as he no longer has to worry about handling pitchers.
"His bat has really blossomed," manager Mike Scioscia. "I think we always thought he had this offensive potential, but I think getting out from behind the plate has shown what a good offensive player he can be. He's going to get a chance to play and hopefully contribute. He'll give us some offense at third base."
Ward's path to the Majors became clearer after the Angels designated for assignment last week. The Angels have been using a combination of , and to fill their void at third base, but Ward will get a chance to play there regularly once he is officially added to the roster.
"He's going to get a good chance to play," Scioscia said. "It's tough to just project how much playing time a guy will get because you're still looking for production and performance. You certainly don't want to give him too much to where a young kid is swallowed up by what the experience is. But we think he's ready for it, and he'll get a chance to meet the challenge."
Trout update
did not travel with the club to San Diego, as he is currently on the East Coast attending to a personal family matter. The Angels had been hoping to get Trout back on Thursday, when he's eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list, but this development has cast doubt on his availability. Trout has been sidelined since Aug. 1 with an inflamed right wrist.
Worth noting
• Shortstop returned to the lineup on Monday after missing one game with left knee soreness.
• The Angels called up right-hander Osmer Morales from Triple-A Salt Lake and optioned right-hander on Monday. It is the first stint in the Majors for the 25-year-old Morales, who has logged a 6.22 ERA over 92 2/3 innings for Salt Lake this year. Scioscia said Morales is a potential starting option for the Angels, who currently have two vacancies in their rotation following the injuries to and Nick Tropeano.
• The Angels announced Monday that they have signed a two-year extension of their player development contract with the Salt Lake Bees. The new deal will cover the 2021-2022 seasons. The two clubs have been affiliates since 2001.