The Los Angeles Angels are still simply treading water without some of their best players. Anthony Rendon has already been ruled out until August, while Justin Upton and Mike Trout appear close to their respective returns. On Monday, Upton actually began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake, signaling he could be back extremely soon.
His return could be expedited as long as the rehab assignment goes well, and it certainly did on Monday. Upton was slated to be the lead-off batter for the Salt Lake Bees, with Jo Adell batting behind him in the two-hole. It didn’t take long for the Angels left fielder to make a statement, as he took the first pitch of the night deep for a home run, via the Bees:
Justin Upton takes the first pitch of the game waaaaaaay outta here pic.twitter.com/q0sLdcpqS9
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) July 20, 2021
For the game, Upton went 1-for-3 with that home run and a walk, striking out once as well. As far as rehab assignments go, this was fairly successful for Upton, who was supposed to return prior to the All-Star break. Setbacks in his recovery pushed it to now, and the Angels hope they can get him back shortly.
As for Trout, a rehab assignment is still coming his way, meaning his return will come after Upton’s. However, there is some good news, as he is running at 90% of full speed. Trout spoke about his current status, saying that he’s excited to get back and feels close, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
Trout said he was running at 90 percent today. He’s “excited” about his progress but still doesn’t know when a rehab assignment will start. He thinks it’s “close” but didn’t know more specifically. As of now he’s planning to continue working out with the team in Minnesota.
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) July 19, 2021
Once Trout goes from 90% of full speed to 100%, then he will be able to go on his rehab assignment, which will likely be with the Bees given what Upton did. Then, after his rehab assignment, he’ll be activated and can make his return. It’s unclear exactly how long this process will take, but the assumption has to be some time within the next two weeks or sooner.
The Angels need them both back desperately, as they are in the danger zone of falling out of the playoff picture. Heading into Tuesday, they were 6.5 games back of the second wild card spot with one more game against the Oakland Athletics.
Shohei Ohtani tosses gem in loss
While the Angels were unable to get an important win against the Athletics, Ohtani was incredible on the mound once again. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and one walk. He also struck out eight batters.