ANAHEIM — The Angels are already down to catcher No. 5.
Chad Wallach was placed on the 7-day injured list on Tuesday. Angels manager Phil Nevin said on Monday and Tuesday that Wallach woke up on Sunday with a stiff neck, but the team subsequently announced that Wallach was being placed on the 7-day IL, which is only for players who have concussions. Position players with other injuries are placed on the 10-day injured list. Wallach’s IL stint is retroactive to Sunday, so Wallach would be eligible to return this Sunday in Cleveland.
The Angels recalled Chris Okey, a 28-year-old who had just been signed to a minor league deal a few weeks ago, and immediately put him in the lineup to catch Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday night.
Max Stassi was projected to be the Angels’ starting catcher, but he was placed on the injured list with a hip issue and he’s also been dealing with a family situation. There is still no timetable for him to return.
Logan O’Hoppe then began the season as the primary catcher before he suffered a torn labrum that required surgery. He’ll be out for at least four months, and possibly for the rest of the season.
Since then the Angels have been using Matt Thaiss and Wallach.
Thaiss caught Sunday and Monday, and Nevin wants him to catch on Wednesday, so the Angels decided it was better to make a roster move than try to have Thaiss catch four games in a row.
Also, Thaiss is a left-handed hitter, and the Angels preferred a right-handed hitter against Houston Astros lefty Framber Valdez, who was Tuesday’s starter.
Okey played seven games with the Cincinnati Reds last season, coming to the plate 13 times. Nevin said Okey had been working with Wallach and the coaches to prepare him to catch Ohtani.
Ohtani also calls his own pitches with the PitchCom, so it’s not as important that the catcher be familiar with what he wants to throw.
Jared Walsh might be ready for a rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, Nevin said.
“He feels good about it,” Nevin said. “There’s a good chance we could see him possibly play this weekend.”
The Angels’ first baseman has missed the season so far because of headaches and insomnia. He was undergoing treatment at a facility in Utah.
Walsh has been back with the Angels doing baseball work for a couple of weeks. Lately, he’s started taking at-bats against a machine that simulates facing a real pitcher, including video.
“This thing will get you ramped up a little quicker than we’ve been able to do in the past,” Nevin said.
The Angels brought right-hander Jimmy Herget back from Triple-A on Tuesday, replacing Cesar Valdez.
Herget was sent down with a 6.23 ERA in his first eight games. Although he gave up three runs in five innings at Triple-A, Herget said those numbers aren’t indicative of his work because pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League is “like pitching on the moon.”
Herget said he’s done some work refining the grip on his slider, and he also has a different mindset with how he uses his other pitches.
“Just attack, attack, attack,” Herget said. “I know my stuff is good enough to get everybody out. … I know who I am. And I know what I have and what I don’t have. I know how I can get guys out. I proved it last year. I proved it before. Just kind of keeping that same mentality and just attacking.”
Herget had a 2.48 ERA with the Angels in 69 innings last season.
The Angels designated Valdez for assignment after calling him up for one day to give them multi-inning coverage for the bullpen on Monday. Okey filled Valdez’s spot on the 40-man roster.
Tests on left-hander José Suarez’s shoulder showed no structural damage, but he won’t be able to throw for three or four weeks, Nevin said. “No structural damage or anything that requires surgery, so that’s good news,” Nevin said, “but he still has to be shut down, so that’s discouraging.” …
Left-hander Patrick Sandoval is in line to face Cleveland Guardians right-hander Tanner Bibee on Sunday in Cleveland. They were teammates at Mission Viejo High in 2015. Sandoval is two years older than Bibee, who went on to Cal State Fullerton before. The game will be aired exclusively on Peacock, and it will start at 8:35 a.m. PT. …
Left-handed reliever Aaron Loup (hamstring) played catch on Tuesday. …
Astros (RHP Cristian Javier, 2-1, 3.54 ERA) at Angels (RHP Griffin Canning, 2-0, 5.31), Wednesday, 1:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM