Rendon returns from IL atop Angels' lineup; Trout progressing

July 9th, 2024

ANAHEIM -- Veteran third baseman made his long-awaited return to the Angels on Monday and superstar isn’t too far behind, as he progressed to jogging on the field and is on track for a return in late July.

Rendon, out since April 20 with a high-grade partial tear of his left hamstring, was activated from the 60-day injured list Monday and went 1-for-4 in the Angels' 9-4 loss to the Rangers, knocking in a run with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.

Rendon began baseball activities in early June and faced live pitching and ran the bases aggressively on both Friday and Saturday at Angel Stadium. He started at third base and hit leadoff in his return, and Rendon will serve as designated hitter every other day until he’s ready for everyday action at the hot corner.

“It was a long time coming, but I’m ready to keep on going and finish the second half strong,” Rendon said. “The main thing I wanted to do was run every day, obviously, being a hamstring injury. I wanted to make sure I got out there, ran the bases and got moving every single day.”

Trout, meanwhile, made some progress of his own on Monday, as the three-time AL MVP and 11-time All-Star took soft toss on the field and also jogged outside for the first time without having to use a treadmill. Trout, who has been on the 10-day IL since April 30 and underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on May 3, said he believes he could start batting practice in a few days. But the most important part is testing his knee with sprinting, cutting and finally running the bases.

“I feel great, I feel fine and I’m progressing the way I should be,” Trout said. “It's good to get out there and start moving around instead of being in the weight room and the cage. It’s all about the progression of running. I feel good hitting. I took 30 swings out there with no pain at all.”

Rendon, 34, was hitting .267/.325/.307 with three doubles, three RBIs and three stolen bases in 19 games before he injured himself while trying to beat out a grounder for an infield single on April 20. He started the season in a slump but was hitting .395/.449/.442 over his last 11 games before sustaining the injury.

Angels manager Ron Washington said he likes Rendon atop the lineup because of the quality of his at-bats and his ability to see a lot of pitches. Washington would’ve preferred that Rendon went on a rehab assignment, but that’s a reason why he’ll ease him into action with some time at DH heading into the All-Star break.

Washington, though, believes Rendon is itching to prove doubters wrong after four injury-plagued seasons with the Angels since signing a seven-year deal worth $245 million that runs through the 2026 season.

“I talked with him earlier today before he got to the ballpark and he had the same excitement in his voice that he had over the winter,” Washington said. “He really wanted to perform this year. It’s too bad that the hamstring pushed him back. He knows he’s a better player than what he’s shown to Angels fans.”

Trout, 32, was batting .220/.325/.541 with 10 homers, 14 RBIs and six stolen bases in 29 games before injuring his left knee. He was showing plenty of power and aggressive baserunning, but his average was down from his .299 career mark. Washington, though, came away impressed by the way Trout was striking the ball off a tee and during soft toss on Monday.

Trout sprayed the ball all over the field, including homering to right, center and left fields on consecutive swings to end his session.

“I’m pleased with it because he’s pleased with it,” Washington said. “I watched him do some early hitting and see why he's the star that he is. He did some stuff out there today with a tee and some flips that I don't think any of those kids in that clubhouse could do. That’s know-how. He knows what he’s doing.”

Trout, who remains under contract through 2030 at $37.1 million per year, said he’s unsure if he’ll need a rehab assignment or if he’ll take a similar path to Rendon. But he was excited to see Rendon back in the lineup and eager for a chance to finish the second half strong together.

“I saw him in there every day when I was banged up with the hard work he was putting in,” Trout said. “To finally get him back out there means a lot to him and to the team.”