Angels-Astros Preview


Just when it looked like they were getting healthier with the return of Josh Hamilton, the Los Angeles Angels have lost Mike Trout again to a re-aggravated back injury.

Trout won't be in the lineup as the Angels attempt to end a season-high four-game skid Wednesday night against the Houston Astros.

Los Angeles (30-27) got Hamilton back Tuesday after he spent nearly two months recovering from surgery on his left thumb, but Trout was forced to leave the series opener at Minute Maid Park. The Angels star center fielder, who missed the previous two games because of his ailing back, struck out in his lone at-bat in a 7-2 loss.

"I just didn't feel comfortable. I didn't want to risk it by pushing it too much ... I don't think it's that severe, but we'll see," said Trout, who is batting .405 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last 12 games.

Houston (25-34) took advantage of Trout's absence to register an eighth win in 10 games. After signing a lucrative contract extension, Jon Singleton homered and drove in two runs in his major league debut.

Singleton served a 50-game suspension last year for his second violation of MLB's drug policy. He told The Associated Press that he spent a month in a rehabilitation center because of an addiction to marijuana.

"It's been a long road for the last 16 months so I can't be more appreciative and thankful of this moment I have right now," he said.

Singleton joins another highly touted prospect in the Astros lineup. George Springer earned AL rookie of the month honors in May after making his major league debut April 16.

Jarred Cosart (4-4, 4.18 ERA) takes the ball for Houston seeking a fourth win in five starts. The right-hander has a 2.79 ERA in his last seven starts and gave up two runs over five innings in a 9-3 win in Kansas City last Wednesday.

Cosart wasn't as effective in his lone start against Los Angeles on April 7, allowing five runs, three hits and four walks in six innings of a 9-1 loss.

The Angels counter with Garrett Richards (4-2, 3.65), who is 0-2 with a 7.98 ERA in his last three starts. That stretch began when he gave up five runs and 10 hits in seven innings in a 5-2 loss to visiting Houston on May 19.

The right-hander was even worse Friday, getting tagged for five runs, five hits and three walks while recording just two outs in a 9-5 loss in Oakland.

Richards yielded one run and three hits in five innings while striking out seven in his lone start at Minute Maid, an 11-1 rout April 4, but also walked a season-high five.

Hamilton, who hit a solo shot in the eighth inning Tuesday, is 10 for 17 (.588) with three homers and seven RBIs in five games at Minute Maid this season. He's batting .414 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in his last 23 games in Houston, and .435 in his last 13 overall matchups.

The Angels have won nine of 12 in Houston.

Chris Carter is 6 for 13 (.462) with a home run against Richards, and Robbie Grossman is 4 for 7 (.571).