Angels superstar outfielder Mike Trout was placed on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 2 right calf strain and could miss six to eight weeks, the club announced on Tuesday.
Trout, a three-time AL MVP, was off to a typically excellent start this season, hitting .333 with a Major League-best .466 OBP and AL-best .624 slugging percentage over 36 games through Monday.
Trout -- who also strained his right calf in July 2019, missing three games -- was injured in Monday's 7-4 win over Cleveland. Trout was running the bases on a popup to shortstop by Jared Walsh that ended the first inning but needed to stop after he reached third base, then went back into the home dugout.
“When I put my head down, I thought I got hit by the ball,” Trout said. “I thought I got hit by like a line drive. ... And then I got to the bag and then I said, 'Man, something's not right.' And then I felt a pop and then I went down to the tunnel, made sure it wasn't my Achilles, so I mean, I guess if there's any positive coming out of it, it's that it wasn't my Achilles because that's what scared me when it first happened. It was just a freak thing.”
Trout's absence is a serious blow for the scuffling Angels, who entered Tuesday having lost 10 of 15 despite Monday's victory. Trout, 29, has eight homers, eight doubles and 18 RBIs this season but had been in a slump recently; his single in the ninth inning of Sunday's win over the Red Sox snapped an 0-for-18 funk.
“It's really unfortunate,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Obviously, you never want to hear that about any of your players, especially a player the caliber of Michael. So the way I'm looking at it is this, that other guys are going to get the opportunity right now to help us ascend into this race properly, and by the time Mike gets back, you're ready to go and really be fresh into August, September into the playoffs."
Maddon added that plans could change for the status of those two players, but he reaffirmed his confidence in Taylor Ward, who started in center field on Tuesday, and Juan Lagares as players who can fill in for Trout during his absence.
“Anything could change,” he said. “Anybody's welcome to put themselves in a position to be considered. Absolutely. That's the whole purpose. That’s it, It's just gonna be based on performance. If you do well enough and the need still exists, then you might do something like that, but don't discount what maybe Taylor Ward can do or Juan Lagares could do on a more consistent basis. We got to see that too.”
If Trout is out for the club’s expected timeline, it would be one of the longer absences of his career. The last time he missed an extended amount of time was in 2017, when he was shelved for 46 days after having surgery to repair a UCL tear in his left thumb.
Trout described the injury news as “tough” considering it could force him to miss the most time in his career. He said he hopes he can still play a role for the Angels despite not being able to be on the field.**
“I mean, I'm here for everything,” he said. “I think every little piece of advice I give the guys, I think they'd want that and that's why I want to be here and I'll do everything I can to help the team.”