Angels enthusiasts received a ray of optimism on Tuesday with the announcement that the formidable outfielder Mike Trout might soon face live pitching in a simulated game, as early as this Thursday. Since early July, Trout has been absent from the lineup due to a fractured wrist bone, which dealt a heavy blow to the Angels’ playoff prospects.
As a prominent player of his era, Trout had been maintaining a batting average of .263 with an OPS of .862 and 18 home runs across 81 games, which, while impressive, was slightly below his usual exceptional standards. The void left by his injury has had a significant impact on the team’s performance, leading to a 14-20 record in his absence. This slump now places the Angels seven games behind in the fierce competition for the American League Wild Card position. Presently, the Toronto Blue Jays occupy the final Wild Card spot, while the Mariners, Red Sox, and Yankees have secured more favorable postseason standings compared to the Angels.
It’s noteworthy to mention that Trout’s potential participation in a game-like situation on Thursday holds promise, although his full return to the field remains uncertain, even from a rehabilitation perspective. Initially, Jo Adell was intended to fill Trout’s shoes after the unfortunate injury; however, the 24-year-old outfielder has been sidelined since July 8 due to an oblique injury. The Angels have been hit hard by a series of injuries, a fact that is mirrored in their performance record.
As the Angels demonstrate their unwavering commitment to victory this season by making strategic acquisitions at the trade deadline and retaining baseball’s premier player, Shohei Ohtani, on their roster, achieving anything less than a playoff berth could be perceived as a substantial setback. The impending free agency of Ohtani during the offseason adds another layer of intrigue to the team’s situation.