Trout’s return uncertain as Angels host Astros

The Los Angeles Angels are hopeful that new father Mike Trout will return to the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros in Anaheim, Calif.

Since Monday is an off-day for the Angels, there’s a chance Trout won’t return until Tuesday, but Angels manager Joe Maddon is an optimist.

“There’s a chance,” Maddon told reporters Saturday. “That would be the optimal plan. I’ve already written things down to put him in the lineup for (Sunday), and that’d be so nice to be able to do that and get really close to the lineup we thought we’d have coming out of the second camp.

“I don’t have that 100 percent, but I have anticipated him playing tomorrow.”

The Angels have played only two games with both Trout and third baseman Anthony Rendon in the lineup — Rendon missed the first four games of the season with a strained oblique muscle. In those two games, the Angels scored a total of 17 runs.

Trout is 4-for-10 with Rendon hitting behind him in the lineup in the No. 3 spot, but just 3-for-14 with someone else hitting behind him.

Trout’s wife, Jessica, gave birth to a baby boy — Beckham Aaron Trout, initials B.A.T. — on Thursday. On his Twitter account, Trout tweeted “Our greatest gift from above. Meet our sweet boy, Beckham Aaron Trout.”

If Trout does return Sunday, he’ll face Astros scheduled starter Josh James, who is 0-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 10 career appearances (two starts) against the Angels. Trout is 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout against James, who has 21 strikeouts in 14 innings against Los Angeles in his career.

James got a no-decision in his first start of the season last Monday against the Seattle Mariners, when he gave up three runs on three hits in three innings. He struck out five, but struggled with his control, walking five.

Though his last start didn’t go as planned, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. After spring training was shut down, James wanted to stay sharp, so he contacted a company that builds pitching mounds to ask about putting one in the backyard of his south Florida home.

The company typically builds Little League-sized mounds, but was willing to try to make a mound with major league dimensions.

“I contacted them and said, ‘Hey listen, this is who I am and this is what I do and I need a major league regulation-sized mound,” James told “The guy was like, ‘OK, no problem. I’ll have it for you.’ It took a week. I put it in my backyard. I got a net. I found a catcher who was a high school kid and is really good, and he caught pretty much every ‘pen.”

James will not have to concern himself with Angels DH Shohei Ohtani, because Ohtani will be on the mound for the Angels. Ohtani struggled badly in his first start last Sunday against the Oakland A’s, failing to retire any of the six batters he faced. He walked three, and the other three had hits, with five coming around to score.

In two career starts against Houston, Ohtani is 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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