Mike Trout’s groin injury will keep him out of Angels-Cubs series

Angels center fielder Mike Trout runs toward first base after a hit against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 8.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

It will be a few days before Angels center fielder Mike Trout returns to the lineup.

The team announced Friday that Trout will miss the three-game series against the Chicago Cubs this weekend as he recovers from a right groin strain, which he sustained earlier this week.

Trout stayed behind in Southern California to visit team physician Dr. Steve Yoon. Imaging of his groin revealed “a reduced amount of swelling to the groin,” general manger Billy Eppler said via a team news release. Trout will continue treatment in Anaheim and be reevaluated Sunday.


Trout has continued to report improvement since sustaining the injury. He is expected to avoid a stint on the injured list, manager Brad Ausmus said at Wrigley Field before Friday’s game.

Trout could rejoin the Angels on Monday when they start a four-game series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

“It’s just a matter of how he feels and what the doctors think,” Ausmus said.

Injuries can worsen in cold temperatures, so it’s likely the weather in Chicago factored into the Angels’ decision to keep Trout in Southern California. A snow system that is expected to move into the Great Lakes could produce snow in Chicago on Sunday.

Trout was hurt Tuesday at Angel Stadium. He appeared to first feel soreness in his groin when he slid feet-first into second base on an inning-ending force out in the second inning. He immediately grabbed his right leg upon standing up, but played one more inning in the field.

Trout, who was pulled before the start of the fourth inning of the Angels’ victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, sounded optimistic when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday. He was also cautious, stating that he didn’t want to rush his return to the lineup for fear of aggravating the injury.

“I don’t want this thing to be a six-week thing if I go out there and hurt it more,” he said. “I have to make sure I’m 100 percent. The progress it made overnight, I’m really happy about it.”

Ohtani takes small step

Shohei Ohtani, who’s been recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery, was scheduled to hit off a pitching machine for the first time in his rehab on Friday at Angel Stadium.

“Baby step forward,” Ausmus said.

Ohtani is expected to begin hitting against pitchers in live batting practice soon, but he must first be medically cleared. Once given the go-ahead, Ohtani will be able to progress to batting in either simulated games or a minor league rehab assignment.

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The Angels have said since February that they expect Ohtani to be ready to rejoin their lineup sometime in May.

According to rumors reported by Japanese newspaper Nikkan Sports, one of the more reliable sports-focused papers in that country, the Angels were targeting May 7 for Ohtani’s return date.

Ausmus dispelled the idea.

“I don’t know where they’re getting that,” he said.

Short hops

Angels infielder Zack Cozart was scheduled to start at second base Friday, his first regular season start there since he made 16 starts at the position last season. Cozart didn’t play at second base in spring training, but he had been expected to get repetitions there before a calf strain sidelined him for most of the Cactus League schedule. … The Angels recalled right-handed pitcher Jake Jewell from triple-A Salt Lake to take the spot in the bullpen vacated by Jaime Barria. Jewell entered the Angels’ 5-1 loss to the Cubs with two runners on base and two outs in the seventh and stranded them. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed one hit.