TORONTO -- Howie Kendrick's arduous battle through a sprained left knee officially ended Tuesday, when the Angels second baseman successfully ran sprints for a second straight day and was activated for the start of a three-game series at Rogers Centre.
Kendrick is expected to rejoin the starting lineup Friday in Houston. For now, he will be available as a pinch-hitter, with the Angels wanting to avoid playing him on the hard turf as much as possible.
Kendrick, with a .301/.341/.437 slash line in 108 games, hurt his knee on a collision with right fielder Collin Cowgill on Aug. 5. He originally opted to wait a couple of days to see if he could avoid the disabled list. When he went on the DL, he hoped to be back in 15 days. But Kendrick had a hard time sprinting pain-free on consecutive days -- until early Tuesday afternoon.
"Part of me kind of knew I'd be back before the end of the year," Kendrick said. "I wasn't going to shut it down and be like, 'Oh, I don't want to play.' I want to play. Being healthy, for me, that's huge. I always want to be healthy, never want to be hurt. I'm just trying to get back out there and help the team."
Throughout the course of his rehab, Kendrick had been able to do everything besides run sprints. One of the things he did constantly was hit. But one thing he has not done in more than a month is face live pitching. And with the Angels' affiliates in the playoffs, there was not really a way for Kendrick to conveniently get in some rehab games before returning to action.
He will have to adjust as he goes along.
"Obviously the timing's something that's going to be something that comes with at-bats," Kendrick said. "You never know until you get in the game. Timing's the whole thing. I haven't seen live action in a while. It'd be kind of just jumping back into something I've done my whole life. I'm not expecting a whole lot early on, but once I get back into the swing of things I'll start to feel better."
Trout's torrid pace could lead to exclusive club
TORONTO -- With 19 games left, Mike Trout is 21 hits away from reaching 200 -- and some more rare company.
The list of players who notched 200 hits in their age-21 season is currently only 10 deep: Starlin Castro (2011), Alex Rodriguez (1996), Garry Templeton (1977), Vada Pinson (1959), Al Kaline (1955), Buddy Lewis (1937), Joe DiMaggio (1936), Hal Trosky (1934), Lloyd Waner (1927) and Ty Cobb (1907).
"I think it would be cool," said Trout, who is 22 but is in his age-21 season because his birthday is after June 30. "It's one of those things, just grinding out the rest of the year, trying to finish strong. If I get it, I get it."
But it does not stop at 200 hits for Trout.
He is two homers away from 25, has already topped 30 steals (with 32) and is two runs away from 100. Here are the players who have combined at least 200 hits with 25 homers, 30 steals and 100 runs scored in their age-21 season or younger:
Only 11 players have done it at any point in their career. They are: Jacoby Ellsbury (2011), Jimmy Rollins (2007), Hanley Ramirez (2007), Alfonso Soriano (2002), Vladimir Guerrero (2002), Rodriguez (1998), Larry Walker (1997), Ellis Burks (1996), Bobby Bonds (1970), Hank Aaron (1963) and Willie Mays (1958).
Trout entered Tuesday with a .338/.437/.572 slash line, giving him a 1.009 OPS that ranks third in the Majors behind only Miguel Cabrera (1.113) and Chris Davis (1.023). His 9.8 wins above replacement, as calculated by FanGraphs.com, easily leads the Majors -- Andrew McCutchen is second at 7.4 -- and would be the highest ever for a player in his age-21 at season's end.
Trout's .437 on-base percentage entering Tuesday would be the highest in Angels history -- Tim Salmon and Chili Davis each had a .429 mark in 1995 -- and is a byproduct of his American League-leading 90 walks, which he raised to 91 in the first inning of the series opener against the Blue Jays.
Asked before that game if there was a major difference in the pitches he was getting to hit this year compared with last year, Trout said: "Oh yeah, I think it is. Not having Albert [Pujols] hit behind you, a couple of guys being hurt, you definitely get less pitches to hit."
And that leads to probably the only question surrounding Trout's pursuit of 200 hits: Will he see enough strikes?
Angels get second straight travel-heavy schedule
TORONTO -- The Angels traveled more miles than any team in the Majors except the Mariners in 2013, and they will continue to rack up mileage in 2014.
Next year's schedule was released Tuesday. In it, the Angels once again will not have any trips pairing Arlington and Houston, meaning they will have to make six separate trips to Texas -- including at the start of September, when the Angels start in Houston, travel to Minnesota and then come back down to Arlington.
Also to the Angels' chagrin is that four of their off-days will come as travel days on the road, on April 24, June 2, Sept. 8 and Sept. 25. Then there is the Aug. 3-4 swing, which will see the Angels play in Tampa Bay and in Los Angeles on back-to-back days; or Aug. 21-22, when they will go from Fenway Park to the O.co Coliseum without a break in between.
The Angels are slated to travel 51,825 miles in 2013. Next year -- before any potential make-up games -- it is 46,667, behind only the Mariners and the A's.
"West Coast travel is brutal," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "and it seems the 2014 schedule is every bit as taxing on a team on the West Coast as it ever has been -- maybe even worse."
• Peter Bourjos had successful right wrist surgery Tuesday in which a small screw was inserted. The procedure, performed by Dr. Steven Shin in Los Angeles, requires eight weeks without baseball activity.
• Jered Weaver felt some tightness in his right forearm after pitching six innings of three-run ball against the Twins on Monday, but Scioscia said it was manageable and should not affect Weaver's next start.
• J.B. Shuck was out of the starting lineup Tuesday for a second straight game against a lefty, even though he boasts a .354 on-base percentage against southpaws this season. Scioscia said he wanted to take advantage of Kole Calhoun's success against lefties (.981 OPS) while using the right-handed bat of Collin Cowgill.
• Josh Hamilton started in left field Tuesday, marking his first appearance in the outfield since Aug. 27. The Angels slugger entered with a .327 batting average in his previous 28 games, then got an RBI single in each of his first two plate appearances Tuesday.
• Luis Jimenez is still unavailable and continues to be day to day because of soreness in both of his thumbs as well as his left shoulder, which he hurt while sliding into home plate in Saturday's game against the Rangers.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.