Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout appeared uncomfortable Monday as he secured his lead from second base in the first inning. This only moments after running from first to second on Anthony Rendon’s game-tying RBI ground out. As Jared Walsh hit a third-out pop-up in the infield Trout was clearly hurt. Visibly hobbling as he attempted to make the jog from second to third base. The three-time MVP slammed his helmet into the grass in obvious frustration. Something was not right with the star center fielder.
Tuesday afternoon, the Angels announced Trout was being placed on the 10-day Injured List with a calf strain. His expected recovery from the injury is projected at six to eight weeks. That likely means they believe it to be a grade 2 strain which is good. If it were a grade 3 strain, it could require closer to a four-month recovery. The veteran of 11 MLB seasons has never been sidelined for more than 30 days. Now an Angels team with an 18-22 record will have to compete without the best player in the game for up to two months.
Trout goes on the injured list leading Major League Baseball with a 1.090 OPS. Yet, it’s another Halo slugger that is likely the early MVP front-runner in the junior circuit. Shohei Ohtani hit his major league-leading 13th home run in Monday evening’s game. If that’s not enough, he will be making his sixth start on the mound Wednesday evening. Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, and Jared Walsh will be counted on to lead this Angels offense in the coming weeks.
Holding Down the Fort
Former New York Mets Gold Glove-winning center fielder Juan Lagares will likely get a fair amount of starts in center field. Scott Schebler hit three home runs Sunday at Triple-A Salt Lake. He played well in center field in limited play in April for the Angels. Veterans Jon Jay recently accepted his assignment to Salt Lake and could be another candidate to fill in for Trout. Don’t expect top prospects Jo Adell or Brandon Marsh just yet. Angels brass appears committed to giving both plenty of plate appearances at Salt Lake to develop this spring and summer.
Whoever gets the majority of starts in center will likely continue to be flanked by two outfielders struggling at the plate. Both left fielder Justin Upton and right fielder Taylor Ward have not found their groove at the plate. Since the early May release of Albert Pujols, manager Joe Maddon has moved Jared Walsh from right to first base. It’s not a stretch to believe first-year GM Perry Minasian could also look for outside help in center.
The Angels, like many teams this year, have dealt with a series of injuries beyond Mike Trout. Lead-off hitter and second baseman David Fletcher has been sidelined since Saturday with a hip injury. Newly acquired right fielder Dexter Fowler suffered a season-ending knee injury in Dunedin in April. Catcher Max Stassi has missed the past week recovering from a concussion.
What Will the Angels Look Like Upon Return?
When Trout does return, it will be interesting to see what the complexion of Joe Maddon’s club looks like. If Trout misses an entire eight weeks, Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, or both could be contributors in Anaheim in mid-July. For now, the Angels will look to Lagares, Ward, Upton and others within their organization to do their best to plug an unfillable void. The absence of a 29-year-old with a 76.2 bWAR, tied for 73rd greatest in MLB history.
The Angels will place their hope on Shohei Ohtani and company. Looking to keep their club in the hunt climbing from fourth in their division until Trout returns. If Ohtani can lead that charge, it will only add more creditability to his MVP-caliber season.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images