Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout hasn't appeared in a regular season contest since May 17 because of a strained calf muscle. Though Trout was originally expected to return after six to eight weeks, his recovery clearly has not proceeded as anticipated. Now, with just 18 games remaining on the Angels' schedule, it appears likely that he will be sidelined for the rest of the campaign.
Angels manager Joe Maddon admitted as much on Wednesday, telling reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that Trout probably isn't returning this year. Maddon's comments echo the sentiment that was expressed by general manager Perry Minasian last week, who, during an appearance on a minor-league broadcast, said that "the calendar is shrinking by the day" as it pertains to Trout beginning a rehab assignment on his way to rejoining the Angels lineup.
The team initially announced a 6-8 week recovery time when Trout got hurt and this is now week 15. No player has missed this much time with a calf strain in years.
If Trout's season is indeed over -- and the Angels are set to wrap up their year on October 3, or in about two and a half weeks -- he'll finish the year having appeared in just 36 games. In those contests, he batted .333/.466/.624 (195 OPS+) with eight home runs and two stolen bases (on two attempts). Trout seemed well on his way to competing for a fourth career American League Most Valuable Player Award. Alas, that honor seems more likely to go to his teammate, two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani.
Trout, now 30, has played in only 477 of 678 possible regular season games since 2017, or 70 percent. In addition to the calf strain this year, he also missed time with a torn thumb ligament in 2017 and wrist inflammation in 2018. Now with two straight compromised seasons, CBS Sports' Matt Snyder explored how lost time may affect Trout's quest to be all-time great.
The Angels entered Wednesday with a 70-74 record on the season, putting them 14 games back in the division and 10 1/2 back in the wild card race. There's no telling how the Angels would have fared with a full slate from a healthy Trout, but it's fair to reason they would've received more production than they did from the likes of Juan Lagares.
Presuming there is a 2022 season for Trout to play in, he'll enter the year just four Wins Above Replacement short of hitting 80 for his career, according to Baseball Reference; only 62 players in history have eclipsed that threshold.