HOUSTON – The Angels finally had all the players from their opening-day lineup back together.
For one inning.
On the day Josh Hamilton returned from nearly two months on the disabled list, and hit a homer, Mike Trout came out of the game because of a recurrence of the stiff back that knocked him out of the weekend series.
Trout’s injury cast a cloud over a team that dropped its fourth in a row, 7-2, to the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
“I’m not too concerned,” Trout said. “It’s made progress over the last two days. It’s getting better, but I don’t want to push it too much where it gets worse.”
Trout said he was checked by a doctor after he left the game, and he was told “it wasn’t too major.” He’ll have further tests Wednesday, likely including an X-ray, and he’ll most likely miss at least one more game. Considering the importance of keeping Trout healthy, his first career trip to the disabled list would not be a surprise.
Trout missed Saturday and Sunday’s games in Oakland when he came up with stiffness in the middle of his back. He said after Sunday’s game he expected to play Tuesday, and he went through a full workout Tuesday afternoon.
Trout struck out in the first and played an inning in center field. When the Angels came out in the bottom of the second, he was out of the game.
“I just didn’t feel comfortable,” Trout said. “It’s the same thing I’ve been feeling for a couple days and I didn’t want to push it.”
At least the Angels got back Hamilton, who had not played since he tore a ligament in his thumb April 8. He had been swinging the bat well before he got hurt, and it continued during his three-game rehab assignment. In his first at-bat Tuesday, he drilled a ball about 420 feet to straightaway center field, a homer anyplace except the cavernous 435-foot center field at Minute Maid Park.
In his final at-bat of the day, he pulled a homer into the right-field seats. In between, he struck out and walked.
“It felt good,” Hamilton said. “It felt like when I down (in Triple-A) getting at-bats. I was calm and seeing the ball. Not trying to do too much.”
Hamilton’s return wasn’t enough for the Angels because C.J. Wilson, who was pitching through flu-like symptoms, walked five and couldn’t get out of the fifth inning. He was charged with five runs.
In the Angels’ four-game losing streak, the starters have allowed 19 earned runs.
“If you look at the games (in the losing streak), we maybe aren’t getting out of the box with our starting pitching the way we have been when we’ve done well,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “These guys have been doing so well for so long you are going to hit a bump in the road occasionally. There is nothing we need to create. We just need our starters to get into their game.”