Angels hopeful to have boost in lineup vs. Rangers

MLB

The Los Angeles Angels could have Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon back in the starting lineup soon, possibly as early as Monday’s series opener against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

With no disrespect intended to Scott Schebler and Jose Rojas, who started in center field and at third base, respectively, in Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Houston Astros, Trout and Rendon are among the top two hitters in the game.

Rendon has been out since April 12 with a strained left groin. The Angels are 6-2 with him in the starting lineup, 4-8 with him on the bench.

“He has a solid chance in Texas,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Rendon. “Probably, I’d like to believe (Monday) — if not, the worst-case scenario should be the day after that.”

Trout was hit by a pitch on his left elbow on Thursday and missed the last three games against the Astros. The Angels lost two of those three without Trout.

“It’s getting better each and every day,” Trout said. “Took a couple swings (Sunday). Still not 100 percent, but looking forward to being in the lineup (Monday).”

While Maddon acknowledges wanting to get Trout and Rendon back in the lineup, he emphasized there is no reason to rush them back at this point in the season if they aren’t ready.

“We always want to win,” Maddon said. “I would not panic in any way, shape or form. I have been in these situations before. There’s guys that are injured. That’s a big part of what’s going on right now.”

Right-hander Shohei Ohtani (0-0, 1.04 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels, making his third start of the season. He threw four scoreless innings while giving up one hit, six walks and striking out seven against the Rangers on Tuesday. That was his only appearance against Texas in his career.

Maddon said he hasn’t decided whether Ohtani will hit in the lineup, although the Japanese star said wants to be in there. Ohtani hit his team-leading seventh homer of the season Sunday and has gone deep in three of his past five games.

“(Monday) he wants to pitch and hit, I’m going to try to figure that out,” Maddon said. “He wants the action, he wants to be there when it matters. … The guy’s playing baseball. I love what he’s doing and how he’s doing it.”

Jordan Lyles (1-1, 4.64) will be on the mound for Texas. He faced Ohtani and the Angels in his most recent start on Tuesday and was tagged with his only loss of the season, giving up three runs and five hits in six innings.

Lyles, though, said he doesn’t believe he needs to make significant adjustments.

“(The Angels hitters) were super aggressive to start the game,” Lyles said. “(But) I don’t try to get away from my gameplan. It might be first pitch of the inning when I’m talking to the catcher we might change something up, but I’m OK with them swinging at every first pitch.”

–Field Level Media

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