ANAHEIM -- This, as the Angels scratch and crawl to try to make the playoffs with only 20 games left, is no time for rest.
That applies to Albert Pujols, whose calf still hasn't improved to a level that would allow him to play first base but continues to be in the lineup as the designated hitter. And that applies to Mike Trout, the 21-year-old center fielder who has played every inning of every game since July 29, a span of 40 games entering Wednesday.
How much has Trout played? He didn't join the Angels until their 21st game of the season, yet he came into Wednesday ranked second on the team in plate appearances with 549, trailing only Pujols' 588.
But the Angels can ill-afford to give the potential American League's Most Valuable Player a day off.
"He's still a huge part of what we do," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think there's any player in the league that's not a little tired from the length of the season. Even though you're a little tired, he's still doing a lot of things at a high level, and that's an important part of our team."
Pujols, meanwhile, has started 14 straight games at DH since returning from a sore right calf, batting .305 with a homer and nine RBIs. His running has improved, but not to a level that would allow him to play defense.
"He still has a governor on it," Scioscia said. "His stride looks a little easier from where it was 10 days ago, but not close to where it normally would."
Izturis takes ground balls, but still unavailable
ANAHEIM -- Maicer Izturis, out since straining his left rib cage on a swing during Saturday's game, took ground balls hit directly at him during batting practice on Wednesday but did not hit and is still unavailable to the Angels.
The veteran reserve infielder, who turned 32 on Wednesday, has posted a .253/.320/.317 slash line in 293 plate appearances this year, on pace to be much lower than the 494 plate appearances he received in 2011.
An MRI on Tuesday revealed no structural damage, and Izturis believes he can be ready to return for the weekend series in Kansas City. Andrew Romine, who also has experience at second base, third base and shortstop, can fill Izturis' role in the meantime.
Angels dismiss two pro scouts
ANAHEIM -- The Angels recently dismissed pro scouts Brad Sloan and Willie Fraser.
Fraser, an ex-pitcher, was drafted by the Angels with the 15th overall selection in 1985, then spent the first five of his eight seasons in the Majors with the club and had been a scout in the organization the last two years. Sloan had been with the club for at least the last eight years.
The dismissals of Sloan and Fraser continues a front-office restructuring by general manager Jerry Dipoto, who in his first year brought in two new assistant GMs (Scott Servais and Matt Klentak), a new director of pro scouting (Hal Morris) and two new special-assignment scouts (Larry Corrigan and Tim Schmidt), among others.
Sloan and Fraser were informed their contracts would not be renewed last week.
Vernon Wells started in place of the slumping Mark Trumbo in left field for the second straight game on Wednesday. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Trumbo would start at first base on Thursday, with lefty Brett Anderson causing the switch-hitting Kendrys Morales to sit.
Right-hander Barry Enright made his Angels debut in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the A's, giving up only an RBI single, which scored an inherited runner, in 1 2/3 innings.
Asked of any restrictions for ace Jered Weaver on Thursday, when he makes his first start since missing a turn through the rotation because of biceps tendinitis, Scioscia said: "It's not like he's going to be on a 75-pitch limit that might affect his ability to pitch deep in the game and give us a chance to win. But I don't anticipate a 115-pitch outing for him. We'll see how the game flow goes."
Angels center fielder Mike Trout was presented with the Heart and Hustle Award on the field prior to Wednesday's game against the A's. The Heart and Hustle Award, according to a release, is given by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to "active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and tradition of the game." Toward the end of the year, fans, all Alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners. Torii Hunter was the recipient in 2011; Albert Pujols won it while with the Cardinals in '09.
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.