|Halos hope for Trout's return vs. Astros|
Mike Trout was not in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game Tuesday, Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus deciding that his star center fielder needed at least one more day to rest his strained right calf.
But it sounds as though Trout will be back in the lineup Wednesday when the Angels host the Houston Astros in the third game of the four-game series in Anaheim, Calif.
Ausmus went with Brian Goodwin -- who returned from the injured list -- in center field Tuesday, even though Trout said before the game he was ready.
"It feels good," Trout said. "Just being cautious. Definitely way better than (Monday), I don't even feel it today."
There's a good chance Trout will be in the lineup Wednesday as the designated hitter because he's been able to continue working in the batting cage.
Trout called it a "pretty normal" pregame routine, adding, "I told (Ausmus) I wanted to keep the cage routine going because it didn't bother me swinging."
If Trout does return, he won't necessarily have it easy against Astros starter Gerrit Cole, who is 9-5 with a 3.23 ERA and a major league-leading 183 strikeouts.
Cole has had more success against Trout than most pitchers in the league. Trout is hitting .278 (5-for-18) with one homer and three walks while striking out five times against Cole.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols has just one hit in nine career at-bats against Cole, but that one hit is a home run.
Felix Pena will pitch for the Angels, his first appearance since throwing seven innings in the Angels' combined no-hitter against Seattle last Friday. The Angels used an opener in that game -- Taylor Cole, who threw the first two innings. The Angels likely will use an opener Wednesday but had not announced who it would be as of late Tuesday.
That pitcher will face George Springer, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman to start the game, a task made even more difficult now that Springer seems to have found his groove.
Springer was off to a great start this season, but a strained hamstring forced him out for a month. He returned June 25 but had only one home run in his first 14 games back after hitting 17 homers in his first 48 games of the season.
On Monday, though, Springer hit two homers to increase his total to 20, and he said he felt it was just a matter of time.
"I honestly think I was just able to finally square some balls up," he said. "It's hard to hit in this league, and I missed a lot of time, I understand that. It's just kind of all about being patient, just understanding that your swing will eventually come back, so it's just been all about just grinding it out."
Pena is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Astros, including 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in one appearance against them this year. Astros outfielder Michael Brantley has hit Pena well, going 3-for-3 with a home run and double against him.
--Field Level Media