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Logan O’Hoppe to be youngest Angels catcher to start on opening day

The Angels' Logan O'Hoppe high-fives teammates after scoring on a base hit by Andrew Velazquez.
The Angels’ Logan O’Hoppe high-fives teammates after scoring on a base hit by Andrew Velazquez during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Cleveland Guardians on March 6 in Tempe, Ariz.
(Matt York / Associated Press)
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Logan O’Hoppe had a feeling good news was coming when Angels manager Phil Nevin asked him to call his dad.

“[Nevin] came into the locker room and was like ‘Come with me and bring your phone,’” O’Hoppe recalled Tuesday. “And then he asked how my dad was doing. … I said he was good and he had me call him up and that’s when I had a good idea.”

O’Hoppe was added to the opening day roster Monday and told he would be the catcher when the Angels open the season Thursday at Oakland.

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“His mom and dad lost it real quick,” Nevin recalled.

“Us O’Hoppes are criers,” O’Hoppe said. “There were definitely some tears.”

When O’Hoppe takes the field on opening day, he’ll be the youngest Angels catcher to do so … by 188 days, according to the team.

The previous youngest Angels catcher to start on opening day was Buck Rodgers, who was 23 years and 237 days old when he did it in 1962. O’Hoppe will be 23 years and 49 days old.

O’Hoppe, who appeared in five games as a rookie last season and hit .281 this spring, will catch Shohei Ohtani, who’s starting the opener for the second straight year.

“He worked his tail off all winter to be in this position. And he’s earned it,” Nevin added.

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Taylor ‘really close’ with swing

Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor takes batting practice before a Freeway Series game against the Angels.
Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor takes batting practice before a Freeway Series game against the Angels at Angel Stadium on Tuesday.
(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

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Most of this spring was a slog for Chris Taylor.

The Dodgers utility man batted .125 in Cactus League games. He struck out in close to half his trips to the plate. And he discussed the frustrations that came with continued tinkering with his swing, inconsistency and injuries over the last season and a half.

In this week’s Freeway Series against the Angels, however, Taylor flashed promising signs.

On Sunday and Monday, he homered. On Tuesday, he added a double and two walks. Most importantly, he struck out only twice in 11 plate appearances.

“It’s been a progression,” Taylor said of his swing this spring. “I kind of knew what I wanted to do, to get the right bat path and cover some of those pitches up in the zone I was missing.

“It took me longer than I wanted to, but I feel like it’s really close now.”

Taylor won’t begin the season as an everyday player. Manager Dave Roberts reiterated that the 32-year-old will start in an outfield platoon role and fill in as the backup shortstop.

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The last tuneup

Dodgers pitcher Ryan Pepiot follows through on a pitch to an Angels batter.
Dodgers pitcher Ryan Pepiot follows through on a pitch to an Angels batter during the first inning of a spring training game on Tuesday at Angel Stadium.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The Angels beat the Dodgers 13-5 on Tuesday at Angel Stadium.

Angels starter Reid Detmers pitched 2-2/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and three walks and struck out four.

Dodgers starter Ryan Pepiot pitched 3-2/3 innings, giving up five earned runs — including homers by Hunter Renfroe and Luis Rengifo — on six hits and four walks and struck out five.

Staff writer Jack Harris contributed to this report.

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