It was an ugly 8-2 loss to the Astros on Thursday, but it could’ve been worse for the Angels as superstar Mike Trout exited in the fifth inning after being hit by a fastball on his left elbow earlier in the game. He was diagnosed with a contusion and is tentatively expected to be in the lineup on Friday.
While leading off the fourth, Trout was plunked by a 93.1 mph fastball from right-hander Cristian Javier that hit off his elbow pad, but caused considerable pain for the three-time American League MVP. Trout was looked at by head athletic trainer Adam Nevala as he reached first base, but he initially remained in the game. He was later removed in the fifth with Scott Schebler replacing him in center field and received treatment the rest of the night.
“It's getting better,” Trout said. “I'm getting treatment and hopefully I'll be in there tomorrow. It didn't feel like it hit any of the pad. But after watching the replay, the pad helped me out a lot."
Trout was also mic’d up for the game that was broadcast on YouTube and told Astros third baseman Alex Bregman he thought the pitch was a slider at first because he doesn’t pick up the ball well at Minute Maid Park. He also said if it weren’t for the elbow pad, he would’ve suffered a worse injury.
After the game, Trout also dispelled any notion that he intentionally leaned into the pitch and reiterated he thought the pitch was a slider.
“Was I trying to get hit by the pitch? No. I was trying to hit," Trout said. "It was weird. To be honest, I thought it was a slider. Then, at the last second, tried to get out of the way and when I turned my head, my elbow flew out. It just hit my elbow."
After remaining on the bases in the fourth and playing center in the bottom of the inning, Trout was removed with the Angels down 7-0. Manager Joe Maddon confirmed it was for precautionary reasons to protect the eight-time All-Star, who is batting an incredible .393/.521/.804 with six homers in 17 games to start the season.
"That was part of it,” Maddon said. “I wanted to give him a chance to go out there and see what it felt like. Obviously, it wasn't working. But once I saw the score, I just walked up to him and said, 'Why don't you get some ice on that and be ready for tomorrow.'"
Maddon added that he had a conversation with Nevala about Trout after the game, and Nevala said he believed Trout should be ready to go on Friday barring a setback.
"You don't know how stiff it'll get overnight,” Maddon said. “But as of right now, I think he'll be able to play."