ANAHEIM — Mike Trout sat down in front of a handful of media members in the Angels’ dugout on Tuesday and made a simple statement with a smile.
Although it might be too late to revive the Angels, Trout said he tried to return to the lineup as soon as possible to do whatever he could.
“We’re not out of it,” Trout said before their game against the Cincinnati Reds. “You never know. I’ve seen some crazy stuff. We’ve got a group of guys that won’t stop fighting.”
The Angels entered play on Tuesday with a nine-game deficit in the American League wild-card race. They have 37 games to play and several teams in front of them.
Trout suffered a fractured hamate bone on July 3. He missed 38 games over seven weeks, which is within the normal four- to eight-week rehab time. The Angels were 16-22 without him, including 11 losses in their past 18 games.
Trout, who turned 32 while he was out, said he’s hoping to play as much as possible the rest of the way.
“We’re running out of time, so I’m expecting to try to be in there every day,” Trout said.
Manager Phil Nevin said they would evaluate Trout on a day-to-day basis. They had been giving him days off about once every two weeks for the first three months, in an effort to keep the three-time AL MVP fresh. Trout said he’s definitely fresh now, having had the last seven weeks off.
Perhaps the bigger question is how he’ll perform.
Trout was not having one of his typical seasons when he got hurt. His .263 batting average and .862 OPS would both be career-worst marks for him. He had played in 81 games – exactly half a season – with 18 home runs.
For much of May and June, Trout was in the worst slump of his career. He had hit .361 with three homers and an OPS of 1.147 in his last 42 plate appearances before he was hurt.
“Before the injury, I was just starting to feel a little like myself again, and unfortunately this happened, but just try to finish strong with the guys,” Trout said. “Just keep fighting to the end.”
Trout had one day of facing live pitching during a workout on the team’s off-day last Thursday.
“I felt good the other day in live BP,” Trout said. “The ball was coming off good. Over time it’s going to get back to full strength once I don’t feel anything. We’ll play it by ear.”
Trout said he still feels some pain, but it’s “bearable.” He said he has a special padded batting glove he’s wearing.
TWO FOR OHTANI?
Shohei Ohtani’s cramping issues began after he pitched the first game of a doubleheader and was the DH in the second game last month in Detroit, but Nevin said that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t try to do the same thing on Wednesday.
Nevin said it won’t be as hot in Anaheim as it was in Detroit. Also, this is a split doubleheader, so there will be a few hours between games instead of 40 minutes.
Still, the Angels will adjust depending on how Ohtani feels after he pitches in the first game.
“We’ll see how he feels,” Nevin said. “Go through his pitch day as normal, and then we’ll talk about it after the game.”
Third baseman Anthony Rendon (bone bruise) is still not doing any baseball activity, Nevin said. …
Right-handers Sam Bachman (right shoulder inflammation) and Ben Joyce (ulnar neuritis) are both pitching off a mound in Arizona, but neither has faced hitters lately. Nevin said the best-case scenario for both of them would be a return in mid-September. …
Right-hander Chris Devenski (hamstring) has been pitching in the minors. He has “a couple more” workouts planned,” Nevin said. “Very healthy. Arm is good. When we feel he’s ready, if that time comes, we’ll bring him,” Nevin said. …
The Angels activated right-hander José Marte from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake. Marte had missed the whole season right elbow stress reaction. Marte pitched 8⅓ innings in eight games in minor league rehab assignments, allowing two runs and 14 strikeouts and four walks. …
The Angels designated right-hander Zack Weiss for assignment to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Marte. …
Left-hander Kenny Rosenberg was in the clubhouse on Tuesday because he is expected to be the 27th man for Wednesday’s doubleheader. …
Right-hander Chris Rodriguez (shoulder inflammation) is not expected to be back this season, but he’s progressed to facing hitters in Arizona, which is encouraging for his long-term prognosis.
Reds (LHP Andrew Abbott, 8-3, 2.99) at Angels (RHP Shohei Ohtani, 10-5, 3.17), Wednesday, 1:07 p.m.; Reds (TBD) at Angels (LHP Reid Detmers, 3-9, 4.93), Wednesday, 6:38 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM