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Cozart 'a little stiff' but avoids IL after collision

@RhettBollinger
April 23, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Third baseman Zack Cozart avoided being placed on injured list on Tuesday after sustaining injuries to his head and neck when he collided with Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu while diving back into second base in the 12th inning of Monday’s 3-2 loss in 14 innings. Cozart was

ANAHEIM -- Third baseman Zack Cozart avoided being placed on injured list on Tuesday after sustaining injuries to his head and neck when he collided with Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu while diving back into second base in the 12th inning of Monday’s 3-2 loss in 14 innings.

Cozart was tested for a concussion after the game and again on Tuesday morning, but he cleared MLB’s concussion protocols. The Angels, though, did option relievers Luke Bard and Taylor Cole, who both pitched on Monday, to Triple-A Salt Lake, and they called up Justin Anderson and Sam Freeman. Freeman had to be added to the 40-man roster, so Justin Upton (left turf toe) was moved to the 60-day injured list.

“Luckily, I feel way better today,” Cozart said. “I’m not concussed, I was just stunned. Kind of jammed my neck. I’m a little stiff, had a headache last night but it went away this morning. That’s good news.”

Cozart was held out of the lineup on Tuesday as a precaution, but he said he felt good enough to play. He said he knew it wasn’t a concussion because he suffered one in 2007 with Class A Daytona after being hit in the head by an errant throw while standing in the on-deck circle.

“I just knew I jammed my neck pretty good, but had feeling in all my fingers and everything, so wasn’t too worried,” Cozart said. “Just kind of shocked me.”

Anderson, Freeman join Angels

Anderson was recalled from Triple-A for a second stint with the Angels, as he impressed early in the season with 5 2/3 scoreless innings in five appearances. He was optioned on April 8 despite getting out of a bases-loaded jam with nobody out against the Rangers on April 7. Anderson allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts at Salt Lake and admitted it was tough being sent there after his early success.

“It hits you a little bit,” Anderson said. “It hits you in the stomach in a place where you don’t want to get hit, but that’s the reality of the situation. It sucks, but you have to make the most of it and keep doing what you are doing. I felt like that was what I went down there and did.”

Freeman, meanwhile, signed a Minor League deal with the Angels shortly before the start of the season and had his contract purchased on Tuesday. The hard-throwing lefty has seven years of Major League experience, including posting a 4.29 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 32 walks in 50 1/3 innings with the Braves last year. He had a 3.00 ERA with seven strikeouts and six walks in nine innings at Triple-A.

Skaggs to be activated soon

Lefty Tyler Skaggs threw his second bullpen session since being placed on the injured list with a left ankle sprain on April 13 and said that it went well. Skaggs threw 40 pitches and is likely to be activated at some point this weekend in the Angels’ three-game series in Kansas City.

“Really good,” Skaggs said when asked how it went. “Ready to roll.”

Ohtani nearing live batting practice

Shohei Ohtani took regular batting practice with his teammates for the fourth time in five days on Tuesday and he’s expected to move up to facing live pitching this week. Angels manager Brad Ausmus hinted that Ohtani is close but he wouldn’t give an exact date for his return.

“It’s imminent-ish,” Ausmus said with a smile.

Ohtani, recovering from Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1, is expected to join the Angels in early May. He’s likely to see live pitching for roughly a week before returning and will not go on a rehab assignment. Ausmus also ruled out an early return for Ohtani before May.

“I do not plan to see him in April, at all,” Ausmus said.

Upton out of walking boot

Upton, who has been out with left turf toe stemming from running into the left-field wall in a preseason game on March 24 at Angel Stadium, had his walking boot removed a few days ago, Ausmus said. Upton was moved to the 60-day injured list on Tuesday, but it doesn’t affect his return date, as he remains on track to be ready to be activated in late May or June. He still hasn’t progressed to running or baseball drills, as he’s continuing to rehab his toe.

"He’s doing exercises for his toe, like rehabilitative exercises for his toe, but what you’d consider normal exercise like jogging, he has some time before all that happens,” 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.