Mike Trout’s return from a calf strain has had a slight setback, Joe Maddon told reporters, including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. On July 19th, Trout himself said he was “really, really close” to beginning a rehab assignment. One week later, that rehab assignment still hasn’t begun because he still “feels something,” Maddon says. “He just feels it a little bit in that area, when he really tries to move quickly.”
The health of their superstar outfielder is tremendously important for an Angels club at an important inflection point of the season. As noted by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, they are “trying to decide course”, with the July 30th trade deadline fast approaching. The team is currently straddling the .500 mark with a record of 49-49. They are 11 games back of the Astros in the AL West and 5 1/2 back of Oakland for the second wild card spot, but with four other teams between them. FanGraphs pegs their playoff odds at 8.8%, with just over two months left to gain ground on their competitors.
Any sort of delay to Trout’s return could further deflate the team’s playoff aspirations. Trout has been considered among the most elite players in baseball for a decade now. And before getting hurt, his 2021 numbers were somehow even better than his own otherworldly standards. In 36 games, Trout produced a slash line of .333/.466/.624, good enough for a wRC+ of 193, a few notches above his career mark of 172.
Although the club recently called up top prospect Brandon Marsh to try to cover center field in Trout’s absence, it’s almost impossible for anyone to match the level of production that a healthy Trout can provide.