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Angels’ Trout optimistic he can return after All-Star break

MLB: JUN 22 Giants at Angels

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 22: Mike Trout (27) of the Los Angeles Angels in the dugout before playing the San Francisco Giantson June 22, 2021 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Slugger Mike Trout is optimistic that he can be back in the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup shortly after the All-Star break.

Trout said before Friday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles that he started swinging a bat a couple days ago along with playing catch and jogging.

The time-time AL MVP has missed 40 games. He went on the injured list May 18 after straining his right calf the night before against the Cleveland Indians. The Angels said at the time that Trout would miss six to eight weeks.

“Mentally, just being able to do stuff and not having to worry about it has been big,” Trout said. “It’s still just getting that strength back. Once the tissue grows back it is about getting the mobility back too.”

Trout, who is on the 60-day IL, is eligible to return July 17, when the Angels host Seattle in their second game after the break.

Trout isn’t feeling any discomfort while swinging but hasn’t progressed to running at full speed. He also isn’t taking fly balls in the outfield or running the bases yet. The biggest positive development for him is that there haven’t been any setbacks in his rehab.

“I think the last thing that’s going to get me from coming back is running. I have to be able to run full speed and with no pain. The last thing I want to do is come back too early and tear it again,” he said.

Despite the long absence, Trout was voted as a starter to the All-Star Game for the eighth straight time. It was his ninth overall selection. He was batting .333 with eight homers and 18 RBIs at the time of his injury. He said he hasn’t decided whether he will attend the All-Star festivities in Denver.

Manager Joe Maddon was hoping that the Angels could play .500 ball until Trout came back, but they have slightly exceeded those expectations. Los Angeles went into Friday’s game with a 39-41 record, but is 21-19 since Trout went on the IL.

“It’s going to be interesting to get him back with all the growth that’s occurred within this team. A lot of guys have gotten a lot of playing time and gotten better,” Maddon said.