Walsh could begin the season in the majors if rosters expand as expected, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports. Walsh struggled to a .150/.320/.350 slash line over 25 Cactus League plate appearances, leading to a Triple-A assignment in late March. However, with rosters likely to expand in the event a 2020 season is able to be salvaged, he could find himself with a "niche" role with the Angels, according to Ardaya. That likelihood is bolstered by Walsh's ability to double as a pitcher.
Walsh was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday. Walsh struggled through spring training with a .150/.320/.350 slash line and one home run in 11 contests, and he's set to begin the season at Triple-A. Walsh has worked as a two-way player over the last couple seasons, but MLB's new policy for two-way players in 2020 may make it difficult for him to earn such a designation.
Walsh could struggle to earn two-way designation as a position player and a pitcher under the specifics of MLB's new policy, Kyle Glaser of Baseball America reports. Under the policy, a player who primarily plays the field must first be designated as a pitcher -- thus counting toward the team's 13-pitcher limit -- then accrue the necessary plate appearances in order to gain two-way designation. That could significantly hamper the value of a player like Walsh because the Angels may be hesitant to carry him against their pitcher limit while waiting for him to qualify for the two-way designation. As it stands, Walsh is already facing the probability of beginning the season in the minor leagues after hitting only .150 this spring. Per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, Walsh's struggles have likely elevated Matt Thaiss into the role of backup to Albert Pujols when the regular season gets underway.
Walsh isn't in the starting lineup for Friday's game against Houston. Walsh will head to the bench for the second straight contest. Albert Pujols draws the start at first base and is set to bat third.
Walsh is not starting Thursday against the Astros. Walsh is sitting for Thursday's series opener with a left-hander in Wade Miley starting for Houston. Albert Pujols is starting at first base in his place, with Taylor Ward entering the lineup at DH.