Mike Trout hopeful to return to lineup Friday as Angels are swept by Mariners
“My back feels great,” he said before the Angels’ 11-7 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on Wednesday.
Trout said he does not feel any pain and that he’s been cleared to play. Whether he does play Friday will depend on how he feels that day.
When he does return, the plan is for him to continue playing centerfield. He does not think he will need extra days off, but interim manager Phil Nevin said he wouldn’t be surprised if Trout ended up needing an extra rest day as he has not played since July 12.
The Angels also have a few games upcoming that will be played on turf, so Nevin plans to give a few of his everyday players additional days off.
As for preventing his injury — costovertebral dysfunction at T5 — from coming back, Trout said the Angels training staff created and established a new routine for him, which has been working. That involves rotational work, a core program and a routine for his legs.
“It just added a few extra exercises, not a big deal,” Trout said. “Just got to stay on top of it.”
Pitcher José Suarez took a perfect game bid into the sixth, but the Mariners rallied late to beat the Angels 8-2 on Wednesday at Angel Stadium.
Trout also said that his routine could change over time and that another discussion will happen in the offseason about how he can continue to strengthen the muscles around where his injury was.
Trout had a ramp-up in his progression through the weekend, and was able to take full batting practice and live pitches from one of the Angels minor leaguers Monday. He had a scheduled day off Tuesday to recover and then did more work in the indoor facilities Wednesday, which he came out of also feeling good.
The decision to take live pitches at home as opposed to going on a minor league assignment came down to discussions Trout had with the front office and training staff about how many games were left in the season. He continued to improve taking at-bats before games at Angel Stadium, so his progression continued here.
“I’m excited,” Trout said of being able to return soon. “I’m happy with the way the progress has been. It was good for me to take time off, get it out of there. We got like a month and a week [left of the season], so I’m looking forward to it.”
Said Nevin of Trout’s impending return: “When I get to write his name down, I’ll be very happy for sure. I think we’re close.”
The Angels will be in Detroit for three games. It’s the first series of three in a 10-day trip that will take them to Tampa Bay and Toronto. They return home at the end of the month for a three-game series with the New York Yankees.
“It’s always a fun time when you’re playing teams like that, especially them, they’re in a fight right now,” Trout said. “We’re gonna come and try to win every game. That’s the mindset.”
The Angels’ third game of their series with the Mariners went about as well as the first two did against a fortified Seattle team that is in possession of the top American League wild-card spot.
The Angels managed to score five more runs than they had in each of the previous two games, thanks to four RBIs from Shohei Ohtani — who hit a two-run home run in the ninth — and one each from David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo and Taylor Ward.
Ohtani went four for five, falling a double shy of the cycle. Ohtani’s towering home run in the ninth helped the Angels make their last-ditch attempt at a comeback.
That inning, Fletcher worked a walk off reliever Matthew Festa. Ohtani launched Festa’s 1-and-1 slider toward the rocks in the outfield for his 27th home run.
The Angels were swept by the Mariners, dropping to 51-67 on the season.
Touki Toussaint pitched two clean innings before unraveling in the third, an issue of command as evidenced by how that final inning for him played out.
He started that inning by hitting Sam Haggerty in the elbow. He walked Adam Frazier and Jesse Winker to load the bases with just one out. A Mitch Haniger single scoredHaggerty.
Toussaint struck out Eugenio Suarez for the second out, but walked J.P. Crawford for another run. The single he gave up to the next batter, Carlos Santana, brought in two more runs.
“That can’t happen, especially these kinds of games,” Toussaint said after the game.
Toussaint was pulled for Mike Mayers and the Mariners beat up on the Angels some more. The Mariners turned the rest of the game into target practice, getting seven more runs aided by four homers.
Despite the Angels’ implosion against the Seattle Mariners on Monday, interim manger Phil Nevin is encouraged how the team has been playing the past two weeks.
The Angels did put up more of a fight at the plate than their last two games. On Wednesday, they went four for eight with runners in scoring position and left six on base. They were a combined two for 12 with runners in scoring position and 12 men left on in the first two games.
Rengifo was pulled after his last at-bat in the seventh with what the team called low back tightness. Nevin said after the game that Rengifo was fine and after some rest on Thursday’s day off, he will be back in the lineup Friday.
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