Angels’ Mike Trout sits out with left knee bruise
American League batting leader Mike Trout was scratched from the Angels’ starting lineup Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays because of a left knee bruise suffered trying to snare a home run by the Rays’ Ben Zobrist on Saturday night.
Trout said after Sunday’s 2-0 loss that he expects to start Monday at Texas.
“He hit the knee good,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of Trout, who made what’s probably the most sensational outfield catch of the year robbing a home run in Baltimore in June, but failed to snag Zobrist’s third-inning line drive over the center-field wall.
The 20-year-old Trout, batting .350 with 16 home runs and an AL-leading 31 stolen bases, jolted the Angels from a 6-14 start to wild-card position and within striking distance of two-time AL champion Texas in the West standings.
The Santana mystery
How the Angels’ starting rotation will look a week from now begins with how struggling Ervin Santana pitches when he opens the Texas series.
Santana will be kept on a maximum 15-outs chain, Scioscia reiterated Sunday, and the team’s public happiness in Santana’s recent bullpen sessions is shaded by the retention of starter Garrett Richards on the big league roster.
Are the Angels hopeful Santana pitches well Monday so they can trade him by Tuesday’s nonwaiver deadline for a young arm after losing two in Friday’s Zack Greinke trade?
Are they hopeful Santana (4-10, 6.00 earned-run average) pitches well so they can keep him in the rotation?
Or are they expecting him to continue struggling, and perhaps designate him for assignment, calling upon Richards or veteran Jerome Williams to take over?
This is all Scioscia would give:
“We’ll see where our rotation is after Monday and go from there. Ervin’s bullpen sessions have been incredible … we want to make decisions based on information and that’s still developing now.”
The Angels sent reliever Hisanori Takahashi to triple-A Salt Lake rather than Richards with Greinke’s arrival. There’s also speculation the Angels remain concerned with the back of starter Dan Haren, who struck out six in six innings in Friday’s 3-1 victory.
Haren said Sunday he’s “good,” doing “normal, routine stuff” to keep his lower back strong after being sidelined July 4-21. Scioscia said he’s expecting Haren to start Wednesday.
Big four games
The Angels appear to be catching the Rangers at a good time with slugger Josh Hamilton slumping and Texas without injured starting pitchers Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz, who was pulled from a Sunday rehab start with continued right elbow discomfort.
Hamilton began Sunday leading the AL in runs batted in, but was benched Saturday after home fans booed him Friday during his .145 slump in July.
“If a rattlesnake is asleep …,” Scioscia said. “Their lineup is more than Josh Hamilton.”
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