Good news for the Angels. After dealing with upper back stiffness over the past week, Mike Trout has returned to the starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Astros.
Trout didn’t play Saturday or Sunday and made it through just one at-bat on Monday before exiting due to renewed stiffness in his back. While he was held out of the lineup again last night, an MRI showed only inflammation and no structural damage. He’ll be eased back into things tonight as the designated hitter.
Trout, 22, is batting .293/.379/.546 with 11 home runs, 38 RBI, and five stolen bases over 55 games this season.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.