Angels being cautious with Pujols' hamstring

Veteran slugger misses second straight game for first time since April 2015

Angels being cautious with Pujols' hamstring

HOUSTON -- Albert Pujols' left hamstring, the one he tweaked while sprinting up the first-base line during Sunday's first inning from Oakland, kept him out of the Angels' starting lineup for a second straight game on Wednesday.

There is still no telling when Pujols will return, but when asked about placing him on the disabled list, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "I don't think we're there yet."

It marked the first time Pujols has missed two straight games since April of last season.

"When I'm good, I'm good, and I'm going to play," Pujols said on Wednesday morning. "Right now I'm not going to take any chances."

Pujols, slashing only .234/.312/.396 this season, tweaked the hamstring while beating out an inning-ending double play to score a run. He stayed in the game on Sunday and played on Monday, with both starts coming as the designated hitter, but he hasn't swung the bat since then.

The 36-year-old is also nursing some soreness in his left ankle, which he rolled while stretching for a game-ending double play in Pittsburgh on June 5.

The Angels will be cautious.

Said Pujols: "I'm not going to force it."

"It's going to take the time it's going to take," Scioscia added, "but right now we want to get it going in the right direction."

Worth noting

Mike Trout started at DH for the second time in the last nine games. With Manny Machado suspended, Trout is the game's active leader in consecutive games started with 134.

Asked about giving him a day off, Scioscia said: "If he needs it, he'll get it. But Mike feels that the DH day really serves the purpose. If he feels good in the box, he wants to keep swinging."

• Matt Thaiss, selected with the 16th overall pick less than two weeks ago, went 3-for-5 in his pro debut for Rookie-level Orem on Tuesday, hitting a home run and two doubles. Thaiss was a catcher at the University of Virginia, but is expected to primarily play first base in the Angels' system. He signed for $2.15 million.

• Angels setup man Joe Smith, also nursing a left hamstring injury, felt good during a 21-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and will throw another one on Thursday. The 32-year-old sidearmer still needs to take part in pitchers' fielding practice and would like to face hitters before being activated off the DL. He could be ready at some point next week.

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.