Just as the Los Angeles Angels were getting healthy and potentially gearing up to return to the American League playoff conversation, Mike Trout suffered a freak injury that could sideline him for two months. In Monday’s win against the Cleveland Indians, Trout exited early in confusing fashion.
After being walked in his first plate appearance, he came up limping while trying to run to third base on a routine flyout that ended the inning. He immediately exited the game and was ruled out with a right calf strain. The next day, further testing revealed a severe Grade 2 calf strain, meaning Trout will miss 6-8 weeks of play.
This is horrible news for a team already sputtering, trying to stay alive in the postseason race. In the moment, Trout felt it could have been a lot worse, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“When I put my head down, I thought I got hit by the ball,” Trout said. “I thought I got hit by like a line drive. … And then I got to the bag and then I said, ‘Man, something’s not right.’ And then I felt a pop and then I went down to the tunnel, made sure it wasn’t my Achilles, so I mean, I guess if there’s any positive coming out of it, it’s that it wasn’t my Achilles because that’s what scared me when it first happened. It was just a freak thing.”
Trout said he’s going to do everything he can to contribute during what could be the longest absence of his career.
“I mean, I’m here for everything,” he said. “I think every little piece of advice I give the guys, I think they’d want that and that’s why I want to be here and I’ll do everything I can to help the team.”
The last time that Trout missed a significant portion of games consecutively — a 39-game absence in 2017 due to a broken thumb — the Angels went 19-20. If Trout missed about seven weeks with this injury, meaning a return right after the All-Star Break, then he would miss 49 games. If the Angels maintain the same pace they did in 2017, that would be a 24-25 finish without Trout.
Going 24-25 would put them at 42-48 heading into the second half of the season, which would theoretically allow them to make a playoff push. This is all completely hypothetical, however, as the Angels have struggled to perform even with Trout having an excellent start to the season.
Now, it will be fascinating to see how the Angels recover and move forward without their franchise cornerstone.
Shohei Ohtani to start Wednesday
When the Angels take the field on Wednesday for a rubber match against the Indians, it will be Ohtani that gets the start on the mound. If he can pitch the way he did in his last start, and the bullpen can support him, the Angels may be able to steal their first series with Trout on the sidelines.