X-rays on Trout’s foot were negative, but the soreness worsened overnight. With such a quick turnaround from Tuesday night’s game, Trout was given a day of rest.
“I’m good,” Trout said as he sat in the visiting clubhouse with an electric muscle stimulator attached to his right leg. “It’s just sore. … I expected it was going to be really sore.”
Although all injuries occur at inopportune moments, the timing of Trout’s is particularly inconvenient. The two-time American League most valuable player has a .259 batting average in May, which ranked 89th among qualified hitters. His season average has continued to plummet, down to .276, fifth on the Angels. Although he has struck out five times in his last five games, Trout said he is beginning to feel better at the plate. His mechanics are locked in. It is now just a matter of Trout refining his eye.
“Swing-wise, it’s close,” Trout said. “I feel like I’m really close. … Just [been] missing some pitches. That’s all it is.”
The good news is Trout believes the pain in his foot, which he said “was throbbing pretty good,” will alleviate in time for him to play Thursday in Seattle, where the Angels begin a four-game series against the Mariners.
It’s also encouraging that Trout’s standards for a slump are warped. He has lapped other players in wins above replacement since his 2011 debut, accruing 64.9 WAR through the 2018 season according to Fangraphs. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who has 51.9 WAR in that span, is the only major leaguer close to Trout.
Even when he has missed pitches to hit this season, Trout barrels enough balls for extra-base hits and draws plenty of walks. Despite his uncharacteristic struggles, Trout ranked seventh in baseball with a 1.012 on-base-plus-slugging percentage entering Wednesday.
Trout has provided 3.3 WAR this season. He trails only surging Dodgers star Cody Bellinger, who has provided 4.4 WAR. That level of production suggests Trout isn’t far off his usual meteoric pace.
“It has come and gone for him a little bit,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I think more recently, though, his swing has looked really good [with] the work that he’s doing, batting practice and cage work. So for me, it’s just a matter of time before it translates on a more Troutian-type basis.”
Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is expected to play against at least two of the three left-handed pitchers the Mariners are scheduled to start in Seattle. Ausmus, however, did not say if the left-handed hitter will be in the lineup Thursday when the Angels face Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi. Kikuchi, who is three years older than the 24-year-old Ohtani, is an alumnus of Ohtani’s alma mater, Hanamaki Higashi High School. … The Angels recalled reliever Jake Jewell and optioned Nick Tropeano, who pitched five innings in Tuesday’s win, back to triple-A Salt Lake. The Angels on Wednesday played their seventh game of a 20-game stretch without a scheduled day off, so they need as much help in the bullpen as they can get. … Ausmus did not announce a starting pitcher for Sunday’s game against the Mariners. The rotation spot belongs to Trevor Cahill, who has a 6.92 ERA in 11 starts this season. The Angels might use an opener that day, but it is just as likely Ausmus might decide to give Cahill extra rest.