Angels prospect Mike Trout likely to begin 2012 in minors

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The Angels’ decision to trade for Vernon Wells’ massive contract was bad enough when he was performing horribly, but now his presence on the team (and $21 million salary in each of the next three seasons) might keep stud prospect Mike Trout in the minors.

Sam Miller of the Orange County Register connected some dots between recent comments made by manager Mike Scioscia and MLB.com reporter Lyle Spencer, both of which suggest Trout will be spending at least the beginning of 2012 at Triple-A.

Trout is only 20 years old and jumped directly from Double-A to the majors, so some time at Triple-A isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, based purely on talent and likely 2012 value Trout would be in the Angels’ lineup on Opening Day.

Instead they’ll have Wells in left field, Peter Bourjos in center field, Torii Hunter in right field, and Bobby Abreu at designated hitter. Wells and Abreu will combine to make $30 million in 2012, while Trout could probably out-play both of them for $400,000.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.