Ron Roenicke told reporters this morning that there’s no timetable for Corey Hart’s return from a strained oblique muscle and the right fielder isn’t healthy enough to begin a minor-league rehab assignment:
We’re still trying to push things and get him to 100 percent. He still feels that if he does throw, there’s going to be tightness. He’s got to get through it. He’s no 100 percent yet. There is not a timetable. We have to get him 100 percent throwing and swinging the bat. We don’t think it’s that far away, maybe a couple of days, but he has to get over that.
When he suffered the injury in late February the initial timetable was around two weeks, but Hart later aggravated the oblique strain and now a late-April return seems like the best-case scenario. In the meantime the Brewers started Mark Kotsay in right field on Opening Day and again in Game 3, used Erick Almonte there in Game 2, and are going with Nyjer Morgan in Hart’s place today.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.