Taylor Ward has become the consistent run producer in Angels’ lineup

Taylor Ward has become the consistent run producer in Angels’ lineup

ANAHEIM — After a tumultuous couple of years, Taylor Ward is happy that this season has been blissfully uneventful.

The Angels outfielder began the 2022 season on a hot streak, but then he crashed into the outfield wall and suffered a shoulder injury that sapped his power for months. Last season he was in a slump in the first half, and he heated up just in time for a season-ending injury. He suffered multiple facial fractures when he was hit by a pitch.

“I think it’s been consistent this year,” Ward said Tuesday. “I think this is the player I am. Of course, things are going to happen. Injuries are going to dictate things. … So, trying to avoid getting injured and keeping things in balance and keeping it simple.”

Ward, 30, is hitting .274 with 11 home runs and an .813 OPS. He has played in 52 of the Angels’ 53 games going into Tuesday and is on a pace for just over 30 homers and around 100 RBIs.

His performance has been fairly steady, although it’s been on a slight upswing lately. Ward said he told the hitting coaches to “bookmark” the video of how he was swinging the bat last week, when he started what has been an 11-game stretch in which he’s hit .302 with four homers and a 1.000 OPS.

Ward has also walked six times in those 11 games, which he said was a particularly encouraging development.

The Angels have needed Ward’s production because they’ve been without three-time American League MVP Mike Trout, and even Miguel Sanó, in the middle of the order. Anthony Rendon was moved out of his spot as a run producer even before he got hurt.

Ward has responded by driving in 32 runs, tops on the team.

“I don’t necessarily like it,” Ward said of being the team’s prime run producer. “I like having the big boys in there to take the microscope off me.”

His performance so far has also alleviated any concerns that he’d suffer any lingering effects of last year’s injury. Ward acknowledged that there are occasional “curveballs I’ve popped out of the way of and they’ve been called strikes,” and that “there are some types of pitchers I can do better against by staying in there longer, but I think over time it will continue to fade away.”

Manager Ron Washington has appreciated Ward’s steady presence as a run producer, but he said he’d like to see more from him defensively.

“I don’t think his defense has been terrible,” Washington said. “Could it be better? Of course it could be better. If you ask him, he’ll tell you it could be better.”

According to Outs Above Average and Defensive Runs Saved, Ward is about the same as he was last year. Washington, however, said he’d like to see Ward be more aggressive in left field.

“I’m talking about taking chances catching balls, diving,” Washington said. “You can’t play the game without leaving your feet, whether you’re on the infield or outfield. I’d like to see him take some chances. And if you don’t come up with the ball, do what everyone else does. Get up and go get it.”


Sanó, whose rehab assignment is on hold because the infielder suffered a burn on his leg from a heat pack, “wanted another day” before returning to action, Washington said. “If he is able to play a game in Arizona in the next day or so, then we’ll move him out of there and send him to Triple-A.” Sanó is out because of left knee inflammation. …

Trout (torn meniscus) has not yet progressed to running on a treadmill. …

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Infielder Brandon Drury (strained hamstring) was expected to hit and throw on Tuesday. He has also been doing some light running. …

Right-hander Sam Bachman (shoulder surgery) is scheduled for two innings in his second rehab outing on Thursday in Arizona. …

Infielder Michael Stefanic (strained quadriceps) was scheduled to play nine innings for Salt Lake on Tuesday. Stefanic has hit .364 in the first nine games of his rehab assignment, split between Arizona and Salt Lake. Stefanic is now eligible to be activated. Even if the Angels decide to keep him in the minors, they will need to create a spot on the 40-man roster to option him, because he’s currently on the 60-day injured list.


Yankees (LHP Nestor Cortes, 3-4, 3.29 ERA) at Angels (RHP Griffin Canning, 2-4, 5.05 ERA), Wednesday, 6:38 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM