LOS ANGELES — Day by day, night by night, center fielder Mike Trout continues to make progress in his rehabilitation and recovery from left thumb ligament surgery. He’s hitting off a tee and soon he’ll move to soft toss and then graduate to live batting practice.
How long it takes, how quickly he moves from one level to the next, remains uncertain, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Monday. It could be sooner rather than later, and the Angels continue to expect Trout back in their lineup at some point at or near the All-Star break.
“He’s felt good in every step he’s had so far,” Scioscia said before the Angels faced the Dodgers in the first game of a four-game Freeway Series, with the first two at Dodger Stadium. “We want to make sure we don’t miss any steps and he doesn’t do too much too soon.”
At this point, Trout is taking baby steps. The Angels want him to be at something resembling 100 percent when he returns to center field. They want him back in their lineup to stay, so there’s no sense in rushing him back and risking a significant setback.
So, forgive Scioscia if he refuses to estimate when Trout will be sound enough to play again.
“It’s tough to say,” Scioscia said, declining to give anything close to a definite timetable for Trout to take the next steps “You might not progress at the level or the pace you believe you will and you might need an extra day or two at every level, so you might be pushed back.”
The Angels’ 14-12 record without Trout and their 40-39 overall mark going into Monday made his absence easier to stomach, but Scioscia disagreed with the notion that they had somehow accomplished something remarkable with the best player in baseball sidelined.
“Without him, we haven’t gone off the charts,” Scioscia said, referring to the third-place Angels’ record and their 13-game deficit in the AL West standings. “I mean, .500 baseball is nothing to throw a parade about, but it’s a start. Hopefully,…