After learning Albert Pujols will be out for the year one day after Mike Trout suffered an injury that kept him out of the lineup, the Los Angeles Angels are searching for any sort of good news to lighten up a season that has provided its share of dark moments.
C.J. Wilson has been solid against the Cleveland Indians of late, and he’ll look to help host Los Angeles win for only the fifth time in 16 tries Tuesday night.
Pujols, who has been out since July 26, had hoped to return later this season despite a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot, but his season officially ended Monday when the team announced he won’t play until 2014.
“Unless in two weeks something happens and we’re only two or three games out … is it worth it to come back and put yourself in a situation where you take that risk?” Pujols said. “That’s the decision we all came to.”
Making matters worse, Trout was forced to sit out Monday’s 5-2 loss to Cleveland after experiencing tightness in his right hamstring during Sunday’s loss to Houston. Though Trout, who has reached base in 40 straight games, said the injury isn’t serious, it’s unclear if he’ll be able to return for this contest.
“It feels a lot better,” Trout said before Monday’s game. “I don’t want to push it. We’ll see how it feels (Tuesday).”
Mark Trumbo hit a solo homer in the ninth and drove in both runs as the disappointing Angels (55-69) lost for the 11th time in 15 games.
“You try not to chalk it up to any kind of excuses,” Trumbo said. “(Injuries aren’t) really an excuse.”
Wilson (13-6, 3.40 ERA), though, is 6-1 with a 2.58 ERA over his last nine starts after giving up one run in 6 2-3 innings of Thursday’s 8-4 win over the New York Yankees despite allowing 11 hits.
“It just only matters that I got through it,” Wilson said.
The left-hander only made it through 5 1-3 innings against the Indians on Aug. 10 after throwing 117 pitches, but he gave up just two runs in a 7-2 win. Wilson is 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA in his last five starts versus Cleveland, which has won five of eight as it tries to gain ground in the playoff race.
Nick Swisher and Lonnie Chisenhall homered Monday for the Indians (67-58), who are 4 1/2 games behind Oakland for the AL’s second wild-card spot and 6 1/2 back of Detroit in the Central.
“We just have to grind and battle, and hopefully this will snowball into something great for us at the end of the season,” Swisher said. “This thing ain’t over, no doubt about it.”
Danny Salazar originally was scheduled to start Monday, but he’ll be on the mound for this contest after manager Terry Francona decided to push him back one day.
Salazar (1-1, 4.08) allowed three runs on two homers in four innings of a 3-0 loss to Minnesota in his most recent outing Aug. 12. The 23-year-old rookie struck out five, giving him 22 in 17 2-3 innings.
The right-hander, though, has pitched 110 2-3 innings including the minors this season, and Francona isn’t about to risk overworking a talented prospect.
“At this level … because the lineups are better and the hitters are better, they’re more stressful innings,” Francona told the team’s official website. “We have to balance where he is in his career.”