Mike Trout expects to return to the lineup when the Los Angeles Angels face the Houston Astros on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif.
Trout has missed the first three games of the four-game series due to a right calf strain. He left the Angels' Sunday game against the Seattle Mariners after two innings and hasn't played since.
"I feel good. Just being cautious," Trout said Wednesday before the Angels fell 11-2 to the Astros. "I should be fine to play (Thursday)."
Trout took batting practice for the third straight day but has yet to test the injury while running.
Angels manager Brad Ausmus was more cautious regarding the two-time American League MVP's status.
"We're going to get him evaluated again when the doctors get in here (Thursday), and hopefully he'll be able to go full bore," Ausmus said. "But I can't swear to that."
Ausmus said Trout's injury dates back to July 7.
"He said he first felt it on the Sunday before the All-Star break when we were playing in Houston, during that long back-and-forth game," Ausmus said. "The next day, he felt fine. He went to Cleveland in the All-Star Game, didn't really do much. Felt it a little I think in (batting practice) on Tuesday. Nothing alarming. Just noticed it. It reappeared, I guess, when we started playing games again."
Ausmus will return after serving a one-game suspension related to Angels reliever Noe Ramirez hitting Houston's Jake Marisnick with a pitch in Tuesday's game.
The pitch apparently was in retaliation for Marisnick running over Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy on the day prior to the All-Star break. Ramirez was suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount but is appealing.
"Not overly happy about it," Ausmus said. "I thought it was unnecessary, but (I) respect it and I'll serve (the suspension Wednesday). And Noe will appeal and we'll see what that process brings. I thought it was a little bit steep. But again, you still have the appeal process to go through, so hopefully that changes things."
Astros manager AJ Hinch, who was upset that Ramirez wasn't ejected from Tuesday's game, said he wasn't surprised by the suspensions.
"I expected (MLB) to step in and do something, but my reaction is really that it should be over and settled and done with," Hinch said.
The Astros snapped the Angels' five-game winning streak since the break with their blowout victory Wednesday. Michael Brantley hit the 100th home run of the major league career, George Springer added a three-run shot, and Gerrit Cole struck out 11 in seven innings of one-run ball.
The Astros are scheduled to start veteran left-hander Wade Miley (7-4, 3.32 ERA) in the series finale. Miley is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in four career starts against the Angels, including a 14-2 victory in Anaheim on May 4, when he allowed two runs on six hits in six innings.
The Angels are set to counter with right-hander Matt Harvey (3-4, 6.88 ERA), who allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings Saturday against Seattle. That was his first start since May 23, after which he went on the injured list due to an upper back strain.
Harvey is 0-2 with a 16.20 ERA in two career starts against the Astros. He lost 10-4 to Houston on May 5 in Anaheim, when he allowed five runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
--Field Level Media
Trout likely to return for Angels' finale vs. Astros