ANAHEIM -- Angels center fielder Michael Trout cleared a significant hurdle on Friday, taking batting practice on the field for the first time since undergoing thumb surgery last month.Manager Mike Scioscia said he was encouraged by the way Trout swung the bat and added that the reigning American League MVP
ANAHEIM -- Angels center fielder Michael Trout cleared a significant hurdle on Friday, taking batting practice on the field for the first time since undergoing thumb surgery last month.
Manager Mike Scioscia said he was encouraged by the way Trout swung the bat and added that the reigning American League MVP winner will need at least three more sessions before he's ready to begin a rehab assignment.
"I think that he did everything you need to do, but you need to build some stamina," Scioscia said. "You need to repeat it. I think definitely swinging the bat, he was letting it go. He feels good with it. But he needs the batting practice just to get the stamina and make sure that everything's firing the way it should."
Trout underwent surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on May 31, and the Angels estimated that he'd be sidelined for six to eight weeks. But barring any setbacks, Trout could conceivably beat that prognosis and return to the Angels' lineup before the All-Star break.
Before injuring his thumb on a head-first slide in Miami, Trout was hitting .337 with a 1.203 OPS, 16 home runs, 36 RBIs and 10 stolen bases over 47 games. While the Angels' chances of staying in contention initially appeared grim without Trout, they have managed to stay afloat without their star outfielder, going 15-14 in his absence heading into Friday's game against the Mariners.
General manager Billy Eppler said right-hander Garrett Richards will undergo a medical evaluation next week that will include an electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle response to nerve stimulation.
If Richards' examination goes well, he could receive clearance to begin throwing. Richards has been out since April 7 with nerve irritation in his right biceps, but the Angels remain hopeful that he'll pitch again this season.
"We felt this might be a little bump in the road," Scioscia said. "It turned out to be a pretty big crater."
Angels acquire Franklin
The Angels announced Friday that they have acquired utilityman Nick Franklin from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Franklin, 26, has posted a .217 batting average with a .650 OPS in parts of five Major League seasons with the Mariners, Rays and Brewers. A switch-hitter, Franklin has fared better against right-handers (.693 OPS) than left-handers (.534 OPS) and has experience playing the middle infield as well as left field.
The Halos intend to add Franklin to their 25-man roster on Saturday, though it's unclear what role he will fill for them.
• The Angels called up right-hander Brooks Pounders from Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday and optioned left-hander Jose Alvarez. Alvarez had struggled over the last two months, logging a 7.45 ERA in 12 appearances in June, and his demotion leaves the Angels without a left-hander on their pitching staff.
"I think it's just really some command issues," Scioscia said. "He's got some things to work on, but he'll be back."
• Scioscia said the Angels plan on activating right-hander Bud Norris (right knee inflammation) from the disabled list on Saturday.
• Right-hander Matthew Shoemaker will throw a bullpen on Saturday for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a forearm strain. The session had initially been scheduled for Thursday, but it was pushed back after Shoemaker got sick.
• Left-hander Andrew Heaney is also scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday and is inching closer to shifting his rehab from Tommy John surgery to the Angels' complex in Arizona.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.