Trout returns with 4 hits; Rendon also back

April 27th, 2021

Angels superstar proved he was just fine after returning to the lineup against the Rangers in Monday night's 9-4 win, going 4-for-5 at the plate in his first game since being hit by a pitch on his left elbow on Thursday.

With his four-hit performance, he's batting an incredible .426/.539/.820 through 18 games. It's the third-highest batting average in franchise history through the team's first 21 games behind Darin Erstad (.465 in 2000) and Rod Carew (.449 in 1983), per ESPN Stats & Info. Star third baseman , was reinstated from the injured list but went 0-for-4. Rendon had been out since April 10 with a left groin strain.

"Michael looked really good," Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought Anthony did, too. His swings looked really good but maybe just a little off with his strike zone and tempo a little bit."

Trout missed three games with a bruised elbow, even though the pitch hit directly on his elbow pad. But he felt better on Monday after taking some swings Sunday.

“It’s still a little sore but it's definitely improved the last few days," Trout said.

Trout, a three-time AL MVP and eight-time All-Star, also described what he felt after the ball hit his elbow. He initially remained in the game but was removed the next inning, as the discomfort worsened and didn’t improve as quickly as he had hoped.

“It hit me square on the pad,” Trout said. “It hit a nerve and from like my shoulder all the way to my fingers went numb and it just got progressively worse. They took me out of the game and got treatment, and then I came in the next morning, it was all right. Like midday, starting to swell up again. And then yesterday, it felt OK but felt it when I was swinging a little bit. I knew it was a day game and with a night game tonight, I wanted that extra time to recover.”

Trout also reiterated that he thought the fastball was a slider from lefty Cristian Javier and that’s why he turned his body as the pitch came closer him. Trout explained he was trying to protect his face because he doesn’t see the ball well at Minute Maid Park.

“It was like a last-minute thing where I was trying to get out of the way,” Trout said. “I thought it was going to break and was running toward me. I was waiting for it to break and I thought it was going to hit me in the face. I definitely wasn’t trying to get hit.”

Rendon, meanwhile, was reinstated after he was able to take batting practice, run the bases and field grounders without any issues over the weekend. Infielder Luis Rengifo was optioned to the taxi squad to make room on the roster. Rendon isn’t expected to face any restrictions and doesn’t need to be eased back into playing.

“I’ve been told to just let him go,” Maddon said. “Right now, I’m anticipating him playing tomorrow and the next day.”

Stassi, Lagares close to returning
Catcher Max Stassi and right fielder Juan Lagares both could be reinstated from the injured list as early as Tuesday, but they weren’t quite ready Monday.

“[Lagares] is getting close, and so is Stassi,” Maddon said. “Really close. They’re just working some minor issues at the very end. When you make them active, you want to make sure they’re going to remain active and not regress. So, we’re really close with those guys.”

The Angels are expected to option catcher Anthony Bemboom to make room for Stassi but will have to make an interesting decision once Lagares is ready, as fellow outfielder Scott Schebler is out of Minor League options. Schebler would have to be placed on waivers before being sent down, which could keep him on the active roster.

The Angels could decide to option infielder Jose Rojas or one of their relievers such as Ben Rowen and keep four outfielders. The left-handed-hitting Schebler and Lagares could also form a platoon in right field if both are on the roster.