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."