DETROIT -- Mike Trout was 11 years old when third baseman Miguel Cabrera made his Major League debut in 2003 with the then-Florida Marlins. Nine years later, he finds himself as a frontrunner for the American League Most Valuable Player award along with the Tigers' slugger.
Trout's willing, but not too big on talking about the award -- mostly because he's focused on team goals and says the individual stuff can be sorted out at the end of the year.
"He's one of the best hitters in the game," said Trout, when asked about Cabrera. "... He gets ahead of the count [and] he's very dangerous, as you see. He's got the power, he's got the power to all fields. And [with] two strikes, he just fouls off them tough pitches -- and when he gets his pitch, he doesn't miss it."
Angels outfielder Torii Hunter had similar praise for Cabrera on Saturday.
"He's one of the best in the game. Right now, he's the best in the game," Hunter said. "The numbers he's put up are pretty impressive. I mean, you let this guy play another seven to 10 years, he's going to break all kinds of records. He's going to destroy [them]."
As it stands, the MVP race is unquestionably close between Trout and Cabrera, who have distanced themselves from the pack.
Entering Sunday's series finale in the Motor City, Trout was batting .338 with 24 home runs, 72 RBIs, 99 runs scored and a .991 OPS. Cabrera, who was out of the Tigers' starting lineup on Sunday with right ankle soreness, was hitting .324 with 32 home runs, 106 RBIs and a .977 OPS in 22 more games.
When the clubs last met in July, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said on the radio that Trout's "wonderboy" story could give him an advantage over Cabrera in the voting.
Angels skipper Mike Scioscia said there's many factors that determine the MVP -- offensive statistics, a team's record and how a player plays defensively to name three. But he doesn't believe age is one of them.
"There's a lot of things that are in that equation that would get you to that final determination [of] who is the most valuable player to a team," Scioscia said. "There's a lot of different ways to slice it up, but I personally feel, yeah, where a team finishes or what a guy contributes to a club outside of what he maybe does in the batter's box is all maybe part of the equation.
"I think to Mike's credit, I mean his numbers were just so incredibly off the charts that he deserved that recognition. But I don't think length of service has anything at all to do with the MVP."
Angels targeting Tuesday for Pujols' return
DETROIT -- As expected, Albert Pujols was not in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Tigers.
"I'm feeling better, but they want to give me another day off. Whatever they want to do," Pujols said.
The Angels' first baseman injured his calf on Wednesday and was diagnosed with right calf inflammation. He had hoped to return during the three-game series against the Tigers, but he felt sore running on Saturday and manager Mike Scioscia chose to err on the side of caution.
"Albert wants to play, but I know when he went out and tried to move around, I think he understood the risk," Scioscia said. "Hopefully, we're going to move past that risk to a level where he can go out and play."
Pujols took batting practice on Friday and tried running Saturday for the first time since the injury occurred. Due to the early start on Sunday, the team didn't take batting practice on the field.
Scioscia hopes that with Monday's off-day, Pujols will be back at full strength and ready to go on Tuesday. He said holding the nine-time All-Star out of the lineup had nothing to do with preparing for the stretch run.
"When Albert's ready to play, he's going to play. We're not holding him out to say he's ready for the stretch," Scioscia said. "If he was available, he would play this week."
Trout's quieter August not a concern
DETROIT -- Fans at Comerica Park witnessed some Mike Trout history this weekend, but not the kind Angels fans are used to. For only the fourth time this season, Trout went hitless in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
One of those occurrences came in his first two games in the Majors this year, while another came on May 22-23. Before this weekend in Detroit, the last time it happened was June 15-16 against the D-backs.
After posting a .372 batting average in June, and following it up with an even more impressive .392 average in July, Trout is batting below the .300 mark in August for the first time in any month this year.
But manager Mike Scioscia is far from being concerned.
"He's a talented kid, but even young talented kids [are] going to have [the] ups and downs of a season," Scioscia said. "As consistent as he's been, which has been remarkable for guys who have seen it every day, there's going to be those times when you're a little bit off and hits don't fall in and all that kind of stuff."
Asked if it might be due to pitchers figuring out Trout's tendencies, the skipper quickly disposed of that theory.
"They've had a book on him and were adjusting from the first month," Scioscia said. "And teams have faced him two, three times after, so it's not like teams have just started to make adjustments.
"I don't think there's anything to say like, 'Oh my gosh, this or that or long season.' He's holding up remarkably well, and I think he's going to finish strong."
For Mark Trumbo, it's been a much tougher month. He's hit .209 with three home runs -- his fewest in any month besides April, when he wasn't an everyday player.
Scioscia said there is value in giving a guy a day off, but it hasn't reached that point with Trumbo.
"He's been in some funks where he'll go up there and have a tough night, a tough three at-bats and he'll come up for a fourth at-bat and make adjustments and he's right there," Scioscia said. "Where [did] the adjustments come [from]? You're not exactly sure. But you know they will come, and when they do, you want him in the lineup."
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.