Angels’ Mike Trout out 6 to 8 weeks due to calf strain

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mike Trout instantly figured something was wrong. And the Angels star was right – he’s now out for the longest stretch of his major league career because of a strained right calf.

The three-time AL MVP is expected to miss six to eight weeks, which would sideline the Los Angeles outfielder through the All-Star break.

“It is not just a little bump in the road. I mean, I’m really crushed about it,” Trout said.

The Angels put Trout on the injured list, a day after he came up limping when he headed toward third base on a popup that ended the first inning. Trout said when he put his head down to run, he thought he’d been hit by a line drive.

“I knew it was bad when it happened. I felt the pop and was just hoping for the best,” Trout said. “I wanted to make sure it wasn’t my Achilles. So I guess if there’s any positive that comes out of this, at least it wasn’t that. It was just a freak thing.”

Trout slammed down his batting helmet as he exited the field, an injury interrupting what had been another stellar season.

Trout is leading the majors in on-base percentage (.466) and OPS (1.090) and is sixth in the American League with a .333 batting average, along with eight home runs and 18 RBIs. He missed three games earlier this season with a swollen left elbow after being hit by a pitch.

Despite being in a 1 for 17 slump when he was injured, Trout was off to the best start of his career with a .425 batting average in April.

“I’ve been around before with the loss of good players and they have come back at the right time and things worked out really well,” manager Joe Maddon said.

This will be the 29-year-old Trout’s third stint on the injured list in his 11-year career. He missed 39 games in 2017 with a left thumb ligament injury and 15 games the following season due to right wrist inflammation. He was out the final 22 games in 2019 after undergoing foot surgery but was not placed on the IL due to the expanded rosters.

As for this injury, “it is something you can’t rush back because you could tear it again. I’ve got to listen to my body, and hopefully I’ll be back soon,” he said.

Taylor Ward and Juan Lagares will see time in center during Trout’s absence.

The move is another tough blow for the Angels (18-22), who currently are in fourth place in the AL West, six games behind Oakland. Third baseman Anthony Rendon has had two stints on the injured list as well as catcher Max Stassi. They also cut first baseman Albert Pujols two weeks ago after there wasn’t an every day spot for him.

Los Angeles has one of the most exciting players in the game in Shohei Ohtani, who leads the majors with 13 home runs and has a 2.10 ERA in five starts. But the Halos biggest shortfall has been pitching. They are last in the majors with a 5.29 ERA.

“We have to tighten up with the pitching,” Maddon said. “Regardless of who we have missing, if we go out and pitch at a high level we can take care of things. That’s where our success lies. If we pitch, we win.”

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.