ANAHEIM — On the day Anthony Rendon marked 10 years of major league service, the Angels third baseman discussed what he isn’t and Manager Phil Nevin talked about what he’s become.
Rendon, who rarely speaks to the media, spent a few minutes with reporters on Wednesday, addressing his lack of power and rash of errors this season.
“If we’re contributing, homers aren’t the only category,” said Rendon, who hit his only home run of the season on Sunday. “I’ve never been a home run hitter. I’m not Tony Four Bags.”
Rendon earned the nickname Tony Two Bags for his ability to hit doubles, but he has shown more power than this. He hit 20 homers five times with the Washington Nationals, including a career-high 34 in 2019, the season before he signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Angels.
Rendon is still providing value with a .283 average and .415 on-base percentage. His OPS+ is 114, meaning he’s been 14% better than the average major league hitter. His career OPS+ with the Nationals was 126.
Defensively, Rendon has made seven errors, the most among major league third basemen.
“I just feel like I’ve been in between a lot of hops,” Rendon said. “A lot of bad hops and a lot of weird plays. It’s not going to happen all year. Just keep grinding.”
Nevin said Rendon’s body of work is encouraging. He said some of the issues are because he has barely played in the past two injury-marred seasons, and others are the result of getting hit in the shoulder by a pitch from Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano on April 9.
“That affected his swing for a little bit and I think even when he got healthy, you build habits, and I think it took a little bit to get out of those,” Nevin said. “I loved when he threw his hands in and hit the home run the other day. I think that’s coming. I think I’ve seen some more aggressive, stronger swings, but situationally, I’m not sure there’s a better hitter in the game than Anthony Rendon.”
Nevin also said that Rendon is becoming a stronger force within the Angels’ clubhouse this season.
“I’ve seen a different guy this year as far as leadership and wanting to win and talking about winning,” Nevin said. “You go around that room, he’s the only one in there who’s gone through a whole season with one team and won a World Series, so I lean on him for that. I know his teammates do.”
That’s why Nevin said he was happy to be able to honor Rendon for reaching a milestone in his service time. The Angels had a similar recognition when relief pitcher Aaron Loup reached 10 years last season.
“I think it’s important when you recognize greatness in this game,” Nevin said. “There’s not a lot of guys that have played for that long.”
WALSH TO PLAY IN TRIPLE-A
First baseman Jared Walsh will play for Triple-A Salt Lake, starting Friday. Walsh has not played yet this season because he’s been undergoing treatment for headaches and insomnia, while also suffering with some motor issues.
Nevin said Walsh will play three games for Salt Lake at Sacramento over the weekend, and then he’ll be re-evaluated. The Angels start a series on Monday in Baltimore, but Nevin isn’t expecting Walsh to be ready that soon.
“He’s been down a little over a month now, so he’s probably going to need more than the three games,” Nevin said. “We’ll kind of evaluate it after the three and then see how next week goes as he as he goes along. There’s still hurdles to climb, obviously. Hasn’t played a game in a while, so we feel like he’s not that far away because of the things he’s been able to do on the field.”
A day after the Angels placed Chad Wallach on the 7-day concussion injured list, Nevin said that his symptoms were decreasing and they were optimistic he could be back next week.
Wallach missed four months with a concussion in 2019, but Nevin said it’s not as serious this time.
In the meantime, the Angels will apparently stick with Matt Thaiss and Chris Okey.
Taylor Ward, who was drafted as a catcher, is the emergency third catcher, but there is no chance of him catching regularly, Nevin said. Ward said he hasn’t worked out behind the plate since spring training 2022, and he has no desire to catch regularly again, although he would help out in an emergency if necessary.
Angels (LHP Tyler Anderson, 1-0, 5.40) at Guardians (LHP Logan Allen, 1-1, 2.70), Friday, 4:10 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM
One rough inning costs Shohei Ohtani in Angels’ loss to Astros, Framber Valdez
Angels catcher Chad Wallach placed on concussion injured list
Angels score go-ahead runs in 8th inning of victory over Astros
Chase Silseth likely to replace injured José Suarez in Angels’ rotation
Game Day: Serious series for Dodgers, Angels