It may seem like awful news, but in reality, the move doesn’t change Trout’s timetable all that much.
The team isn’t expecting him back before the All-Star break, and they are targeting to have him in mid-to-late July.
Trout, the best player of his generation, is nursing a grade 2 right calf strain and has already missed six weeks of action.
His manager Joe Maddon recently said he is more than 50 percent healed and is already taking swings in the batting cage.
The corresponding move to clear space on the 40-man roster was putting Mike Trout on the 60-day IL
Joe Maddon said Trout is still progressing well and, starting today, began swinging a bat in the cage
Maddon said Trout is more than 50% healed https://t.co/6fmMEYLSgM
— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) June 28, 2021
Trout’s absence could destroy the team’s morale, but there are a couple of reasons to be optimistic after his latest injury update.
2. They Are Not That Far From A Wild Card Spot
The Angels are 9.5 games behind the leader in the American League West division.
They are, however, 8.0 games out of a Wild Card spot.
That is a considerable number to overcome, but it is doable.
In fact, they don’t have to erase the eight-game deficit in two weeks; no team can do that.
But the Angels should set a goal to clear as many games as possible until Trout returns.
If they are able to get to mid-to-late July, say, four games back of a playoff spot, then the Angels will have a very good chance.
If Trout returns with an 11-game deficit to erase, well, he is a baseball player, but not a magician.
The competition for spots in the postseason is fierce.
Things are so crowded in the AL that teams like the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins, which were widely expected to fight for their divisions, are currently out of the playoffs.
The Angels have work to do.
But all they need to do right now is try to establish a winning streak.
First, they may want to get above .500, as they are 38-40.
1. Shohei Ohtani
The primary reason why the Angels should remain optimistic even after Trout was transferred to the 60-day injured list is Shohei Ohtani.
There is a case to be made that MLB hasn’t seen a player as talented as Ohtani, ever.
He is an ace on the mound, and is currently rocking a 2.58 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 59.2 frames.
He has 82 strikeouts by virtue of his 100 mph heater and his disgusting splitter.
Not only is Ohtani the Angels’ best starter, but he is also their best offensive weapon without Trout.
Shohei Ohtani in June
The guy has been a top 3 hitter and top 5 pitcher in the same month.
Is he the American League MVP? pic.twitter.com/UhkF4rvNYm
— Sam Federman (Chris Sale SZN) (@PowerHourSam) June 29, 2021
On the year, Ohtani has 26 home runs and projects more than 45 when the season ends.
He also has contributed on the basepaths with 11 stolen bases.
As long as the Angels are able to keep him healthy and fresh, Ohtani will help hold down the fort until Trout returns.
As bad as things look right now, the season is still not lost for the Angels.
They need Dylan Bundy to return to last year’s level, and they need to bring pitching reinforcements at the deadline.
If those things happen and Trout returns within a month, they have a chance.