6/1/2014 2:11 A.M. ET
Stiff back sidelines Trout against Oakland
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- Angels center fielder Mike Trout woke up Saturday morning with tightness around the middle of his back. He tried to loosen it up throughout the early afternoon at O.co Coliseum and never could, ultimately getting scratched from the starting lineup and missing his second game of the season.
Trout said he'll come into Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT series finale against the A's "looking to play." Asked after Saturday's 11-3 loss if he's confident he can, Trout responded: "Oh yeah. It's night and day from what it was."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia originally had Trout in at designated hitter, then took him out entirely after he spent all of pregame laid up on the athletic trainer's table. The 22-year-old superstar was fine Friday, going 2-for-5 with a homer to straightaway center field in a 9-5 loss, but didn't even come out for pregame batting practice the following day.
Trout -- with a .294/.380/.549 slash line on the year -- was also bothered by a tight left hamstring earlier this week, which prompted him to start at designated hitter against the Astros on May 20 and miss the May 21 series finale for precautionary reasons.
"We were going to try to see if he could go out there and swing, but it's just not quite loose enough to where you want him to risk any further injury," said Scioscia, who put Grant Green in Trout's place at the No. 2 spot. "Hopefully it's something that quiets down and he'll be ready to go tomorrow."
LeBlanc designated for assignment by Angels
OAKLAND -- The Angels needed some length out of the bullpen Saturday and Sunday, and that may cost them some organizational starting-pitching depth.
Left-hander Wade LeBlanc was designated for assignment Saturday, one day after a bullpen-saving performance in a 9-5 loss to the A's, and journeyman Minor Leaguer Jarrett Grube was called up to take his place on the roster.
LeBlanc, out of options, gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings Friday while in relief of Garrett Richards, who allowed five runs before recording the third out of the first inning. Now the Angels risk losing LeBlanc off waivers, unable to send him back to Triple-A unless 29 other teams pass up a chance to add him to their big league roster.
"We hope Wade stays with us," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'd love him to go down there and continue to pitch. But just like any other pitcher, if there's a big league job, guys are going to pursue it."
The Angels are off Monday and will start C.J. Wilson, Richards and Tyler Skaggs in the upcoming three-game series in Houston. That means Matt Shoemaker is being pushed back and could start as late as next Saturday against the White Sox, with Jered Weaver -- starting Sunday's series finale against the A's -- taking his next turn on normal rest the previous Friday.
Scioscia wouldn't reveal his rotation for the weekend series against the White Sox, but Shoemaker -- two days removed from pitching 5 1/3 innings in Seattle -- isn't available out of the bullpen in the second of a three-game set in Oakland and can't provide much length in the series finale.
Grube -- a 32-year-old right-hander with a 3.52 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A Salt Lake -- is in the Majors for the first time to provide coverage until Monday's off-day.
And LeBlanc -- 29, and with a 3.69 ERA in nine Triple-A starts -- is now there for the taking.
"It's really bad timing for Wade, but it meets our team's need," Scioscia said. "Last night, we had a short start obviously, and [LeBlanc] had to throw a lot. We just need some coverage and length here today and tomorrow, so we needed to get a fresh arm up here."
Grube's persistence pays off with first callup
OAKLAND -- After stints with three different organizations, a brief stop in independent ball and 11 seasons in professional baseball, 32-year-old right-hander Jarrett Grube has finally reached the big leagues, called up by the Angels on Saturday when lefty Wade LeBlanc was designated for assignment.
"Unbelievable," Grube said. "I'm still in shock. I have been choking up quite a bit. A lot of people have been texting me and calling me and saying congrats. It brings it all back from the beginning. It's a pretty awesome feeling."
Grube, called up to temporarily provide length out of the bullpen, was drafted by the Rockies in the 10th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, made a combined 24 appearances (20 starts) in independent ball from 2009-10, pitched in the Mariners' organization for a couple of years and was signed by the Angels as a Minor League free agent in July 2012.
The Indiana product had a 3.52 ERA in 11 starts for Triple-A Salt Lake this year, posting a 1.14 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) and a 2.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 61 1 /3 innings. For his professional career, he has a 4.14 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP and a 2.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he has "a nice running fastball-slider combination."
Grube's wife and her mother traveled from Fort Wayne, Ind., to make it in time for Saturday's game, and his parents are slated to be here Sunday. Grube was charting pitches for Friday's extra-inning game in Tacoma, Wash., when Salt Lake Bees pitching coach Erik Bennett waved him over with a stern look on his face, ultimately telling him he was going to the Majors.
"I thought I messed the chart up," said Grube, who made his Major League debut in the eighth inning of Saturday's 11-3 loss and surrendered a three-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes. "They kind of twisted it. It was pretty cool."
It would've been easy for Grube to give up along the way, but somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he'd ultimately regret it, because he's fought for so long.
"You try to keep that glimmer of hope alive," Grube said. "It's the reason you play, to get to the Majors. I can't say I had given up, but there are definitely small thoughts like that. You try to ignore them."
• Josh Hamilton went 2-for-5 while leading off and playing left field for Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday night, hitting a single and a double and also striking out in his second game since restarting his rehab assignment. Hamilton, 4-for-9 since returning from a bone bruise in his surgically repaired left thumb, looks on track to be activated by Tuesday's series opener in Houston.
• Scioscia acknowledged that Hector Santiago "threw better" in his second start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday, giving up one run in 5 1/3 innings after surrendering five runs in 2 2/3 innings five days earlier. But Santiago will make at least one more start in the Minors and won't reclaim his rotation spot for the three-game series against the White Sox next weekend.
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.