7/24/2014 3:11 A.M. ET
Trout waiting for right time to unleash speed
By Alden Gonzalez and Matthew DeFranks / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- One tool seems buried in Mike Trout's deep toolbox -- his top-flight speed.
Although Trout's power numbers have been way up this season (24 home runs, 76 RBIs), he has just 10 stolen bases after swiping 82 in the previous two seasons. The two-time MVP runner-up has one steal in his last 30 games (June 24).
Manager Mike Scioscia and Trout both said the 22-year-old was seeing a lot of slide steps from opposing pitchers to quicken their delivery to the plate.
"I took a lot more chances last year, and they started picking up on things," Trout said. "The pitchers have been doing a good job of keeping me honest. I'm going to try to be more aggressive. I've been trying to do it lately. You just have to pick the right time to do it."
Scioscia said that Trout has been in motion a decent amount but that balls have either been put in play or fouled off. Scioscia also said that Trout's lack of steals is not due to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hitting behind him in the order.
"We certainly want Mike to run as much as he possibly can," Scioscia said. "I think that, at times, teams are going to extraordinary levels to control the running game, which would give the batter's box offense an advantage, but we're certainly not trying to stifle what Mike can do because of anything in the order behind him."
Both in his customary No. 2 spot and in his career, Trout falls somewhere between table-setter and slugger, and this season he's looked more like a ball basher than a base bandit.
Trout hit his 24th home run of the season on Tuesday night, and his 76 RBIs trail just Miguel Cabrera for the Major League lead. Last season, Trout didn't hit his 24th homer until Sept. 16, and he finished with 27.
"I'm not trying to hit home runs," he said. "They just kind of happen. I'm going to try to drive in runs, for sure. I'm a guy that just tries to go gap to gap, and if I square up some balls and they go out, they go out."
Trout is on pace to hit 40 home runs, drive in 129 runs and steal 17 bases. He would become the first player in franchise history with at least 120 RBIs and 40-plus home runs.
Strained back lands Green on DL; Cron recalled
ANAHEIM -- Utility man Grant Green was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday because of soreness in his lower back, and first baseman C.J. Cron -- basically the everyday designated hitter until he was sent down on Saturday -- was called back up from Triple-A to take his place.
X-rays on Green's back came back clean, and the 26-year-old doesn't expect to be out much longer than his DL stint.
"I don't think so," Green said. "I think I should be good to go before the DL stint is over."
Green hit the game-winning single on Sunday, then tweaked his back doing squats the following afternoon, was unavailable on Monday and Tuesday, "and then I woke up this morning and couldn't stand up straight," he said on Wednesday.
The Angels will continue to rotate left field, first base and DH, with Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols getting starts at DH as needed, and the left-handed-hitting Efren Navarro and right-handed-hitting Cron probably splitting time filling in.
The Angels have a short bench due to an eight-man bullpen, a situation that is expected to continue at least until Monday's off-day.
Cron, a 24-year-old rookie, batted .295 with nine homers and 27 RBIs in his first 47 games, a big reason why the 42-year-old Raul Ibanez was released. But he went 3-for-26 with seven strikeouts and no walks in his next six contests before being optioned back to the Minors.
Manager Mike Scioscia called it "the cyclical nature of hitting."
"C.J. can hit," Scioscia added. "He's always hit. It's just that there's going to be some periods when you don't get those balls to fall in, and I think more than anything that's what you were seeing with C.J."
Conger happy to cede No. 16 to Street
ANAHEIM -- Catcher Hank Conger didn't expect anything in return after willingly giving up No. 16, but new closer Huston Street nonetheless wants to treat Conger and a guest to an all-expenses-paid vacation because of it.
"We'll see," Conger said when asked if he'd take Street up on the offer. "I mean, he offered, and I like to travel, but it wasn't that big of a deal for me to give up."
Shortly after Friday's trade, Conger switched to No. 24 -- which he'd donned for most of his amateur days in honor of Ken Griffey Jr. -- and graciously handed No. 16 to Street when approached by the Angels' public-relations department.
"He's a veteran," Conger said. "I need to get more dirt on my spikes before I can keep my numbers."
Conger joked that he originally picked 16 because it's the number worn by the character Peter La Fleur in the movie "Dodgeball," then provided the real reason.
"I loved watching Garret Anderson," Conger said of the former Angels outfielder. "At first I was kind of gun shy taking the number, just out of respect. I grew up watching him play once I moved over here to California."
No. 16 is a lot more significant to Street, though.
Street's worn the number the last five years in honor of his late father, James, who donned it while leading the Texas Longhorns to the 1969 national championship as arguably one of the best triple-option quarterbacks in college-football history. Street and his father were close, thus No. 16 took on even more meaning when James died of a heart attack on Sept. 30, 2013.
"Once he told me the significance of the number," Conger said, "I had no problem giving it up."
• Veteran starter C.J. Wilson (sprained right ankle) threw an extended bullpen session prior to Wednesday's game, two days after a 50-pitch session, and "felt great afterward," Scioscia said. "We'll see how C.J. feels tomorrow and see what the next step is, but I think his workout was encouraging."
Wilson is on track to return by early August.
• Angels broadcasts on FOX Sports West currently have the highest household rating in their last seven years, up 32 percent from the end of the 2013 season, according to data compiled by the affiliate. The team also has the youngest television audience in baseball, with 19 percent of its viewers between 18 and 34. The Major League average for that range is 12 percent.
• Trout, Wilson, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Conger visited Children's Hospital of Orange County on Tuesday, distributing Angels items and signing autographs throughout the morning. The club is visiting the hospital once almost every month this season in an effort to lift the spirits of patients. Tuesday marked the fourth of five visits.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.