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Two-way prospect Walsh makes Majors debut

Upton continues to make progress; top prospect Adell nearing return
@RhettBollinger
May 15, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Angels broke the mold with Shohei Ohtani serving as a two-way player last season en route to winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award, and they added another two-way player on Wednesday, as they selected the contract of first baseman/reliever Jared Walsh from Triple-A Salt

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Angels broke the mold with Shohei Ohtani serving as a two-way player last season en route to winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award, and they added another two-way player on Wednesday, as they selected the contract of first baseman/reliever Jared Walsh from Triple-A Salt Lake.

Walsh, ranked as the club’s No. 20 prospect by MLB Pipeline, replaces Justin Bour, who was optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday. He made his Major League debut at first base and hit eighth against Minnesota on Wednesday. Walsh went 3-for-5 with three singles in the Angels' 8-7 loss to the Twins.

"Pretty exciting," Walsh said. "Pretty much everything I hoped it would be. Got really close to getting a 'W' there. It was fun. Looking forward to the next one."

Walsh, though, shrugged off any comparisons to Ohtani, as Ohtani is a starting pitcher and Walsh has only been pitching professionally as a left-handed reliever since last season.

"I don't really put he and I in the same conversation,” Walsh said. “I'm just a guy trying to pitch and he's a starting pitcher -- a front-line ace -- and a No. 4 hitter. I just want to be a player who brings value to the team. I don't really think of it that way."

Walsh, 25, was hitting .302/.398/.604 with 10 homers, 12 doubles and 26 RBIs in 37 games at Salt Lake. The lefty also made five relief appearances, posting a 3.60 ERA with four strikeouts and two walks in five innings.

Angels manager Brad Ausmus, though, said he doesn't plan to use him as a regular in the bullpen just yet, as Walsh is still developing as a reliever and sees him more as someone who can help them because of his power. Walsh had a breakout year that saw him hit 29 homers with 99 RBIs in 128 games across three levels last year.

“We’ll just use him more if the game is out of hand,” Ausmus said. “Just to save a bullpen arm.”

Upton progressing

Left fielder Justin Upton, on the 60-day injured list with left turf toe, has progressed to baseball activities, including throwing and hitting in the cage, but he isn’t ready to run on flat ground just yet. He’s been using a special anti-gravity treadmill and is getting closer to running on the field, but there’s no timeline for his return just yet.

“He’s done a little bit of baseball stuff,” Ausmus said. “Report yesterday was that he felt really good. He’s coming along.”

Adell faces live pitching

Top outfield prospect Jo Adell, who has been out with a right ankle sprain and a left hamstring strain, has been rehabbing in Arizona and faced rehabbing right-hander JC Ramirez during a live batting practice session on Tuesday.

Adell, the club’s No. 1 prospect, is nearing a return, but still needs to complete a few more steps, including baserunning drills, Ausmus said. Adell, 20, is expected to start the season at Double-A Mobile once healthy.

“I don’t know the exact timeline for him returning to play, but it’s gotta be pretty close at this point,” Ausmus said.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.