ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout repeatedly said he doesn’t have a timetable for his return. However, the Los Angeles Angels slugger did admit he would be disappointed if he wasn’t playing by the end of July.

“Oh yeah, I’ll be back before that,” Trout said Saturday before the Angels hosted the Detroit Tigers. “I’m not putting like, an exact timetable on it, but once I do all the tests and I can run, hit and throw, I’ll be out there.

“I’m happy where I’m at right now. It makes me relieved not to feel (any consistent pain).”

Trout hasn’t played since April 29 after an MRI exam confirmed he had torn meniscus in his left knee. The three-time AL MVP then had surgery on May 3.

When Trout had surgery, the initial timeline was six to eight weeks. The recovery though has gone slower than initially expected.

Trout is jogging and working out on a treadmill as well as playing catch. He hasn’t started running or taking swings.

“I’m itching to hit. I feel like if I went into the cage and took some swings I would be pain-free,” Trout said. “I think the biggest thing for me is actually the running part, but we have to build up to that.”

It remains to be determined if Trout would need a rehab stint once he is ready to go.

This is the fourth straight season Trout has dealt with a major injury.

He played in only 36 games during the 2021 season due to a strained calf. In 2022, he was sidelined for five weeks with a back injury.

Last season, Trout broke a bone in a hand on a foul ball during a game in San Diego on July 3. He tried to return in August, but played in only one game.

Trout has played in only 266 games and missed 302 since the start of the 2021 season.

The Angels have won a season-high five straight games. Despite their two highest-paid players being out of the lineup for the past two months, the Halos have gone 14-10 in June after a tough start to the season.

One of the keys to the June surge has been Luis Rengifo, who leads the American League with a .315 batting average.

After going 7-21 at home the first two months, the Angels are 10-4 at The Big A in June.

“I’m pleased with the progress that we’ve made with these young kids, and I’m more than certain they’re pleased with it too,” manager Ron Washington said. “You can see that by the way they about their business. We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet.”

Trout and Anthony Rendon have been in the same lineup in only 118 games out of 568 since 2021 (20.8%).

Rendon has missed 61 games with a hamstring injury that happened in late April. The $245 million third baseman is expected to face live pitching next week and could be back in the lineup when the Angels return home on July 8 after a trip to Oakland and Seattle. Rendon has played in only 167 games since the start of the 2021 season.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB