Trout shakes off rust in return from disabled list

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After missing a month and a half with torn ligaments in his thumb, Mike Trout returned to action as the Los Angeles Angels lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 in 10 innings on Friday night in Anaheim.

Trout didn’t show much rust after his 39-game absence. According to Statcast, his first ball in play was a fly ball to center field that exited his bat at 101 mph.

At the time of his injury, Trout had hit 37 balls in play that Statcast tracked with an exit velocity of at least 100 mph. Only one Angel hitter had more through May 28 — Albert Pujols with 38.

In the third inning, Trout lined a single to center and stole second on the first pitch to Pujols. He has been successful on 84.2 percent of his steal attempts since his debut in 2011. Among players with at least 100 attempts during that period, only Coco Crisp has been more successful (85.2 percent).

Trout struck out on three pitches in the 10th inning to end the game. Two of the strikes were swinging against sliders from Alex Colome. Trout entered the day striking out on only 24.4 percent of plate appearances ending with a slider, his lowest strikeout rate against the pitch in seven MLB seasons.

This was the first time in his major league career that Trout had spent time on the disabled list. In fact, since his debut on July 8, 2011, he hadn’t had more than five straight days off during the season.

He had only had seven breaks of four or more days. Five of those were the All-Star breaks from 2012 to 2016.

The two previous times he went four days without playing at all in the regular season — Aug, 19-22, 2013, and May 6-10, 2017 – he had gone hitless in his return to the lineup.

At the time of Trout’s injury, the Angels were just 2½ games out of the second wild-card spot in the American League. They were able to tread water while he was out, going 19-20 to enter the All-Star break three games out.

Several Angels stepped up in his absence, and the team averaged 4.2 runs per game in those 39 games, slightly higher than their 4.0 runs per game before Trout was hurt.

Kole Calhoun tied for the team lead with seven home runs during that span, while Yunel Escobar and Andrelton Simmons both hit over .300

One hitter who will gladly welcome Trout back is Pujols, who homered in his first plate appearance on Friday. The slugger hit only .231 during Trout’s DL stint, though he was tied for the team lead with seven home runs.



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