Back in lineup, Angels’ Anthony Rendon wants to create sense of urgency

ANAHEIM — After nearly a month on the injured list because of a groin strain, Anthony Rendon was activated Tuesday and ready to bring his no-nonsense approach back to the starting lineup.

To make room on the active roster, infielder Livan Soto was optioned back to Double-A Rocket City.

Rendon opened May at a high level offensively, batting .412 with a 1.041 OPS in the first 10 games of the month before the injury surfaced. And while he still made his presence felt in the clubhouse, his on-field production was missed.

The Angels went 10-11 while Rendon was out, which is not unlike their 31-30 overall record, heading into play Tuesday. But they lost seven of their past 10 games without their veteran third baseman and looked outclassed while losing three of four to the Houston Astros over the weekend.

Rendon talked Tuesday about an Angels team that has a closeness and how their willingness to pull for each other will help as the season progresses.

But are there now heightened expectations to turn team unity into success?

“No, not really, because, to be honest, this organization has sucked for so long,” Rendon said. “We haven’t made the playoffs in a long time. I take that burden too, even though I wasn’t here for those years, right? I came into this organization and I want to win and we all want to win.

“Hopefully we all want to win. That’s what everybody wants to tell you. There is no extra pressure. It’s just, we need to win now. It doesn’t matter.”

The message within Rendon’s blunt assessment was clear. There is no better time to show a sense of urgency like the present and Rendon wants to lead that charge alongside Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

“He’s obviously one of our better players when he’s out there,” General Manager Perry Minasian said of Rendon, who is batting .301 in 30 games with one home run and 20 RBIs. “If you look at our record the last couple of years with him and without him, there is a drastic difference. I don’t think that is random. I think he is a big part of a winning team.”

Rendon even has a formula for a successful season.

“I always tell these guys we need to get a minimum of 15 wins a month,” Rendon said. “You do the math. If we get 90 wins, we’re going to have a good chance to be in the hunt, to be able to play longer into October.

“We haven’t been playing our best but we’ve hit the bare minimum so I need to push these guys a bit more to get maybe a 16th win or a 17th win. So we just have to keep grinding.”


After batting in the leadoff spot the past three games, Ohtani was in the No. 2 spot for Tuesday’s series opener against the Chicago Cubs, while Mike Trout was batting third.

Trout has batted in the No. 2 spot 53 times this season and was making just his fourth appearance in the No. 3 spot.

“We have a few (left-handed hitters) in there and just kind of splitting those up really and trying to find out what works with the both of them,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “I’m not saying they’re struggling at all, but is it what everybody expects them at?”

Othani has an .885 OPS, better than his .875 mark from a season ago. Trout has an .894 OPS and has never finished under .900, outside of his 40-game rookie season in 2011. Over his previous eight games, Trout was batting .133 with a .511 OPS and one home run with four RBIs.

“I know a lot of people are looking at it as it’s not Mike Trout, it’s not Shohei, but we’ll get ’em going,” Nevin said. “I just think it matches up well (Tuesday) with the way the left and rights are going.”


Left-handed reliever Matt Moore (oblique) is set to have another examination by the medical staff and could be close to starting a throwing program. … Left-hander Jose Suarez (shoulder) is doing his rehab work at the team’s facility in Arizona but has not started throwing to hitters.


Cubs (RHP Jameson Taillon, 1-3, 7.05 ERA) at Angels (RHP Jaime Barria, 2-2, 1.59), Wednesday, 6:38 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM