ANAHEIM — Mike Trout continues to struggle in one way, and put up MVP-caliber numbers in another.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn’t worried about the former as long as Trout keeps doing the latter.
Coming into Friday night’s game, Trout was hitting .237 over his last 28 games. His on-base percentage during that span, however, was a robust .426. For the season, he was still hitting .317 with a .455 on-base percentage.
Scioscia said the Angels can still be productive, even if Trout is doing more walking than hitting, because they now have a deeper lineup, with the additions of Brandon Phillips and Justin Upton. Phillips hits in front of Trout and Upton hits behind him.
That’s why Scioscia said he’s not interested in getting Trout to change his approach.
“We would never want to impact his table-setting ability, which is the best in baseball,” Scioscia said. “I don’t think you want to erode that by saying, ‘You’ve got to expand because if you don’t, we’re not going to get it done.’ You’ve seen guys swing the bat behind Mike when he walks and it’s provided big offense for us. You want to get your lineup deep to where it becomes a pick-your-poison situation for another manager.”
The Angels are still scoring at a clip of 5.2 runs per game since Upton and Phillips joined the lineup around Trout. Albert Pujols has gotten even more RBI opportunities, driving in 13 runs in the first 11 games with Trout and Upton in front of him.
Trout, of course, would like contribute by getting hits and drawing walks, as he’s done for most of the season.
“I’m just missing pitches,” Trout said earlier this week. “Some of the pitches I’m swinging at, I’m just a tick late. Once they throw a pitch I can hit, I’ve got to be swinging at it. I’ve got to be selective, but when the pitch is there you gotta do some damage with it.”
Andrew Heaney has not thrown since Tuesday, when he played catch just “as a baseline to see where he was,” Scioscia said. Scioscia said Heaney received some medication for the discomfort in his shoulder, and they are giving it some time.
Diagnosed with a shoulder impingement, Heaney missed his first turn on Friday, when the Angels planned to start reliever Bud Norris. The Angels could delay his next turn to as late as next Saturday, because of Monday’s off day. Presumably, Heaney would need to be able to throw a full bullpen session by Thursday if he is going to be able to start next Saturday.
Scioscia said they won’t push him.
“When he’s ready to throw a bullpen is when he can throw a bullpen,” he said.
Keynan Middleton played catch a day after coming out of the game with ulnar nerve irritation. Scioscia said Middleton felt better quickly after initially reporting the twinge. …
There has been no change in the status of Yunel Escobar, who is trying to come back from a strained oblique. Escobar has been shut down from baseball activities for several days. He is expected to go to the Arizona instructional league when he’s ready to see some live pitching. …
The Angels completed the Upton trade by sending Elvin Rodriguez to the Tigers. Rodriguez, 19, was rated the Angels’ 22nd best prospect by MLB.com. He has pitched only three games above rookie league. This season Rodriguez posted a 2.50 ERA in 11 starts at rookie-level Orem. The Angels sent Double-A right-hander Grayson Long to the Tigers when the deal was first completed on Aug. 31.
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