Angels star center fielder Mike Trout is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a right calf strain he suffered Monday night, dealing a major blow to a team that has already dealt with several key injuries in the season's opening two months.
"I’m really crushed about it," Trout said.
This is the first time since 2018 that Trout has gone on the injured list, and will likely be only the second full season in his career he will miss more than 30 games (he played 114 games in 2017 after suffering a torn ligament in his thumb).
In 36 games this season, the three-time MVP was hitting .333 and leading the majors in on-base-percentage (.466) and OPS (1.090). He also had eight home runs and 18 RBIs.
“Not being able to go out there with the guys, that hurts the most," Trout said. "The numbers obviously were great to start, but I want to be out there with the guys. It just sucks.”
Trout sustained the injury, which the team said is a Grade 2 strain, while running the bases in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians.
After drawing a walk in the bottom of the first and moving to second base on a wild pitch, Trout took off for third when Jared Walsh popped up with two outs. About halfway to the bag, Trout appeared to pull up and run gingerly the rest of the way, limping to a stop as the inning ended.
“I knew it was bad when it happened," said Trout, who described feeling a pop in his leg that felt like he'd been hit by a line drive.
“I got to the bag and said, ‘Man, something’s not right.' ... It was a freak thing."
Trout was relieved he hadn't hurt his Achilles tendon, but still seemed dejected while talking with reporters. He said he was using crutches and wasn't yet sure what his recovery process would entail.
“This one’s tough," he said. "It’s probably the longest one of my career.”
After putting Trout on the 10-day injured list Tuesday, the Angels recalled left-handed reliever José Quijada to bolster their bullpen amid an eight-games-in-seven-days stretch this week (the Angels play a doubleheader Thursday).
Manager Joe Maddon said, for right now, Taylor Ward and Juan Lagares (who also exited Monday's game early with a toe injury but will be available off the bench Tuesday) will likely split time in center field. Ward was in Tuesday's lineup as the center fielder, batting leadoff.
The Angels' top two prospects, Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, are outfielders with minor-league experience in center. However, Maddon said the team currently wants to allow them to continue gaining experience in Triple-A. Maddon also said he and general manager Perry Minasian had not discussed any external options for replacing Trout.
Maddon remained optimistic the Angels, who entered Tuesday at 18-22 and have been without such other regulars as Anthony Rendon and Max Stassi for extended stretches this season (right fielder Dexter Fowler was also lost for the year with a torn ACL), can remain competitive during Trout's absence.
“The way I’m looking at it is this: Other guys are going to get an opportunity to play right now to help us ascend into this race properly, and by the time Mike gets back, he’ll be ready to go and be fresh into August, September and in the playoffs," Maddon said. "He’ll be one of the best August acquisitions in history, or right around that time.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.