Posted on July 10, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
After a 39-game absence, Mike Trout is ready to rejoin the Los Angeles Angels. The reigning American League MVP played what appears to be his fourth and final rehab Sunday night. He has pronounced himself ready to return after recovering from a torn ligament in his thumb he suffered in late May. The injury required surgery and has caused him to miss six weeks of action. Trout figures to return Friday when the second half of the season gets underway following Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Miami.
“I feel great,” Trout said on Sunday. “I had my thumb in a splint when I first took batting practice, but I took that off a couple of days ago and there have been no problems.”
The Angels originally planned for Trout to play one more rehab game on Monday. However, Trout says he’s ready to go and so the club doesn’t feel the need to make him play one more game in the minors. In four minor league games, Trout was 2 for 9 with a double, triple, and four walks. He also played all nine innings Sunday night in center field.
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“I’m where I want to be,” Trout said Sunday. “I’m just getting my legs under me in center field, and I feel great.”
Trout, like most other players, will now have four days off before playing again. He was selected to the American League All-Star Team. But Trout said last week he would not play in the game. Instead, he will spend the next four days working out in Anaheim and preparing to play on Friday when the Angels host the Tampa Bay Rays.
The American League team will undoubtedly miss Trout during Tuesday’s game in Miami. But the Angels will be thrilled to get him back on Friday. Prior to the injury, Trout was in the midst of another MVP-caliber season. Trout returns Friday with a .337 average and an OPS of 1.203. He was on pace to set career highs in most offensive categories.
Surprisingly, the Angels managed to stay afloat while Trout was on the DL. Trout received little help from his teammates during the first two months of the season. However, the Angels were 19-20 without him. That’s not a great record, but it’s been enough to keep them alive for a playoff spot. The Astros have long since run away with the AL West. However after surviving six weeks without Trout, the Angels are just two games under .500 and three games out of a wild-card spot.
Cameron Maybin has filled Trout’s shoes in center field. He had a productive June before going into a slump over the past week. Eric Young Jr., who was called up when Trout went on the DL, has also provided a spark for the Angels. Young has hit .260 with eight stolen bases and an OPS of .732, helping to solidify the third spot in the Angels outfield.
The Angels are hopeful that Trout can pick up where he left off. The Los Angeles pitching staff continues to be decamated by injuries, which will be difficult to overcome. But the Angels held down the fort without Trout for six weeks. Now they will look to last year’s MVP to be the ultimate difference maker during the second half of the season and find a way to carry them to the wild card game.