ANAHEIM — Mike Trout took a big step toward returning to action, with another coming up on Friday.
Trout swung at 100 percent effort in the batting cage on Thursday, clearing the way for him to take his first swings on the field on Friday, Manager Mike Scioscia said.
“He progressed from soft toss to letting some swings out, which is an important step,” Scioscia said. “Tomorrow he’ll hit on the field and start to get his batting practice underway and see how he responds.”
Trout is just over four weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. The initial prognosis was for him to return six to eight weeks after the surgery, so it seems he’ll be in the early end of that window.
Trout needs to take batting practice on the field against coaches for a few days, and then see some velocity from a pitcher. Presumably, he’d then need a few games in the minors.
Bud Norris was scheduled to throw an inning for Class-A Inland Empire on Thursday night, which could be his only outing in the minors before coming off the disabled list. Norris has been out less than two weeks because of right knee inflammation.
When Norris returns, the Angels bullpen is going to be even deeper and more versatile. Norris was the closer when he got hurt. Cam Bedrosian, Huston Street, Yusmeiro Petit and David Hernandez have all recorded saves for the Angels, and Keynan Middleton has certainly pitched well enough to be in the mix for the ninth inning eventually.
“Having another arm who can pitch holding leads or in close games is definitely something that’s going to help us,” Scioscia said. “Bud Norris is another guy we want to add to that mix. We’ll welcome that and we need it.”
Tyler Skaggs, who last week had a setback in his rehab from a strained oblique, was at Angel Stadium on Thursday. Skaggs was to undergo an ultrasound exam to check on his progress, but the Angels had no immediate word on the results. …
Matt Shoemaker was sick on Thursday, so his scheduled bullpen session was pushed back. Scioscia said he’s unsure when Shoemaker will be back. After he throws a bullpen session, the Angels will likely set him for a rehab assignment before he can return to the rotation. …
Andrelton Simmons was not in the Angels’ lineup on Thursday, with a pre-determined day off. The Angels have had the fewest off days in the majors, so Scioscia said he wants to make sure his players get a chance to “catch your breath.”…