Streaking Angels hope to have Trout in lineup vs. Astros

Mike Trout could be back in the lineup as soon as Tuesday when the Los Angeles Angels play the Houston Astros in the second game of the four-game series in Anaheim, Calif.

An MRI exam Monday on Trout's right calf showed a "slight strain," and though Trout was not in Monday's starting lineup against the Astros, he was not put on the injured list and is listed by the team as day-to-day.

Trout hurt the calf while running after a couple of fly balls in the first inning Sunday against the Seattle Mariners and was removed from the game after the following inning.

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"It was kind of after those balls in center in the first inning," Trout said. "Felt a little something. Kind of went away. It was just smart to come out."

Losing Trout is the last thing the Angels can afford to endure at this point in the season, as they still find themselves in the hunt for a playoff berth. After their 9-6 win over the Astros on Monday, the Angels have won four in a row, leaving then 4 1/2 games behind Oakland and Cleveland for the second American League wild-card spot.

And Trout has been particularly hot of late, hitting eight homers over seven games prior to Sunday.

Michael Hermosillo was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday (pitcher Jose Suarez was sent down) and started in center field, going 0-for-3 with a walk and a run.

Left-hander Andrew Heaney will pitch for Los Angeles on Tuesday, making his ninth start of the season after missing the first two months because of elbow inflammation. He faced the Astros once previously this year, in his most recent start on July 6. Heaney took the loss after allowing two runs and five hits in five innings as the Angels fell 4-0.

Heaney has just one victory this season, the win coming June 25 against Cincinnati. He is 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA in eight career starts against Houston.

Heaney has not fared well against Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who has hit .364 (8-for-22) with a home run and three doubles in his career against him.

Altuve, though, hasn't been himself this season, at least until recently when he started to heat up. Altuve had offseason knee surgery, then missed six weeks and 35 games this year because of a strained left hamstring.

A three-time batting champion, Altuve was batting just .235 as recently as June 20, but was 7-for-11 in the two games before the series opener against the Angels. After going 0-for-4 Monday, Altuve is hitting .269 for the season.

"I'm working real hard to get back to be able to help this team because these guys are playing so good and I don't want to be the one that's not helping the team," Altuve said. "I've been working hard, but in the end what matters is that we're winning games."

Astros manager A.J. Hinch doesn't seem worried that Altuve will finish the year strong.

"At the end of the season, we'll see where he's at," Hinch told the Houston Chronicle. "When he gets hits, that's what he does. He's Jose Altuve. Pitch selection is a little bit of it, but most of it is just showing up to the ballpark, preparing, and he finds ways to get hits."

As of late Monday, the Astros had not announced their starting pitcher for the Tuesday game. They likely will make it a bullpen day, according to the Chronicle.

--Field Level Media

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