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Angels outfielder Taylor Ward will avoid injured list after wall collision

ANAHEIM ― Taylor Ward’s collision with the right field wall kept him out of the starting lineup Saturday. The Angels hope that will be the extent of Ward’s absence.

Ward passed concussion protocol and is expected to avoid the injured list, Manager Joe Maddon said. He was not available off the bench for Saturday’s game against the Oakland A’s, and his status for Sunday’s game is to be determined.

Angels head athletic trainer Mike Frostad said Ward has a stinger, an injury to the brachial plexus bundle of nerves that runs between the neck and shoulder. Stingers are common in contact sports in which the head and neck are vulnerable to collisions.

A stinger, Frostad said, “starts in the neck, works its way down the arm, you get that burning sensation. That’s what (Ward)’s dealing with a little bit but he’s feeling pretty good.”

The Angels needed to rule out the possibility of a concussion after Ward caught a warning-track fly ball off Tony Kemp’s bat, then bodysmacked the padded wall in the ninth inning Friday. Ward was feeling well enough to take batting practice indoors Saturday afternoon.

Maddon finalized his lineup without Ward a couple hours before Saturday’s game against the A’s. Ward began the day leading all of Major League Baseball in batting average (.370), on-base percentage (.481) and slugging percentage (.713).

Tyler Wade got his first start of the season in right field. Shohei Ohtani batted leadoff for the first time since April 24.

CANNING’S CHOICE

Pitcher Griffin Canning will meet with a back specialist Monday to determine the next step in his treatment for a stress reaction in his back.

Canning has been shut down from throwing since he faced live hitters in a simulated game May 9. The next day, he reported soreness in his back, an injury that originally felled him last July.

Now, the choice is Canning’s whether to rehabilitate the injury conservatively or undergo surgery. The recovery period for surgery depends on the scope of the procedure.

“A stress reaction creates a false joint in the back,” Frostad said. A surgical procedure would “pretty much put a screw through that false joint in the back to stabilize it, so it doesn’t move anymore.”

Canning, 26, was well into the process of building up arm strength for a potential return to the Angels’ starting rotation. The two-inning simulated game at Angel Stadium was his first action against live hitters in that process.

INJURY UPDATES

The Angels activated catcher Kurt Suzuki from the injured list and reassigned Austin Romine to Triple-A Salt Lake. Suzuki, 38, did not use a minor league rehabilitation stint after he was placed on the COVID-19 IL, which cost him 13 games.

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