It has been exactly three months from Tuesday since Mike Trout suffered a Grade 2 calf strain. The Los Angeles Angels originally put him on a 6-8 week recovery timeline, but that has dramatically shifted as we enter week 13 of his injury.
There have been times over the past three months where it felt like Trout was making real progress and was nearly ready for a return. Other times, shutting him down for the season has been a legitimate conversation. This is just how it goes with tricky injuries like a calf strain.
Through it all, Trout has remained positive about his odds of returning to the Angels lineup this season. Joe Maddon believes in Trout as much as anyone, but is still waiting for an elongated period without discomfort before moving to the next stage of his rehab, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com:
“He is definitely motivated in that direction,” Maddon said about a possible Trout return. “I can’t give you a specific time frame on it, but he is working. Conversationally, he is upbeat. Somedays he feels better than [other days]. We are trying to get him to the point where that calf feels normal on a consistent basis.”
For Trout to actually be able to make a return, there are a couple steps he needs to undergo. Once he is running the way Maddon describes — where the calf feels normal — then he would move towards a rehab assignment.
Given that Trout has been out for so long, it would be strange to see him go directly to Triple-A, play for a week, then get activated. For reference, Luis Robert — who missed a similar time frame — played four games at High-A and eight games at Triple-A before being activated.
If Trout follows a path similar to Robert, it’s going to be a couple more weeks before there’s even a chance of getting activated. Even still, it remains worthwhile for the Angels to try to get him back into action before the season ends.
Chris Rodriguez on Minor League IL
The Angels have been one of the most injured teams in baseball all season long. There wasn’t any reason to believe there would be let-up as the 2021 campaign came to a close, as Chris Rodriguez is now the latest to be snake bitten.
The young Angels starter suffered a right lat strain and was placed on the Minor League 7-day IL. It’s unclear exactly how long it will be until he’s available to return, but Maddon cautioned that it will be longer than seven days.