Mike Trout returns to Angels on Friday

MIAMI, FL - MAY 26: Mike Trout
MIAMI, FL - MAY 26: Mike Trout /

The reigning American League MVP will suit up for the Angels for first time since May 28th when the second half of the season starts Friday.

While the MLB All-Star Game will be without the game’s top talent, the Los Angeles Angels will not have to wait for much longer. Mike Trout will make his return to action for Friday’s second-half opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, per team spokesman Tim Mead.

The reigning American League Most Valuable Player and last year’s All-Star Game MVP has been out for over a month with a torn UCL in his left thumb. Ironically, he suffered the injury during a stolen base attempt on May 28th at Marlins Park, the site of tonight’s All-Star Game.

During his absence, Trout aimed to return in time to participate in the All-Star festivities, which he was elected to be a starter in for the sixth consecutive season. However, the Angels said earlier in the month that Trout’s rehab schedule would prohibit him from being able to do so. Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts –who finished as runner-up to Trout in voting for the 2016 AL MVP— replaced him in the AL starting lineup.

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The injury was the first major setback for Trout in the phenomenal start to his career. Over the past four years, he averaged 158 games per season before missing the last 39 outings for Anaheim. Yet during his absence, the Angels had been surprisingly proficient, going 19-20 without their top star, which has allowed them to stay close in the AL Wild Card race. Anaheim enters the second half only 1.5 games behind in the Wild Card chase, an encouraging distance to be within with the boost that Trout looks ready to provide.

During his four-game rehab stint with the High-A level Inland Empire 66ers, Trout scored five runs, while adding a double and triple. He also walked four times in 14 plate appearances.

Trout will look to pick up at the substantial pace that he was at prior to his injury a month ago. In 47 games, he has hit 16 home runs, while hitting .337, scoring 55 runs and stealing 10 bases. His 1.203 OPS led the AL at the time of his injury, and his 3.4 WAR still places among the top 10 in the league.