Albert Pujols is slumping along with his teammates now, his one-for-23 skid tacked onto the Angels' eight losses in 11 games.
But Pujols also carries the perspective of a 2011 St. Louis Cardinal, when his team rallied from a 10 1/2-game deficit on Aug. 24 in the National League wild-card race and won the World Series.
"There's still a lot of baseball left," Pujols said following Sunday's 4-1 loss to Seattle and a 20-minute closed-door meeting called by Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.
Scioscia didn't disclose the nature of his meeting comments, but Pujols underlined the value of the manager's postgame remarks to reporters that the Angels are only two games out of an American League wild-card spot with 47 games remaining.
"For as bad as we've played … you take that every time," Pujols said.
Optimism, Pujols said, is rooted in the Angels' prior rally from a season-opening 6-14 start to a 49-32 May-July run.
"We just need to continue to push and realize we are a good ballclub," Pujols said. "Everyone has to go through this to be a championship ballclub because when a tough situation comes, how do you handle it?
"We have a bunch of veteran guys who know what baseball is. Staying positive, that's the main thing — not hanging your head. The young guys feel it, and that's a beautiful thing."
Downs up on mound
Reliever Scott Downs, sidelined since July 28 with a left shoulder strain, threw off a mound for the first time in his recovery Sunday, and Scioscia said the 36-year-old veteran may not require a rehabilitation assignment before returning to the action.
"We'll see how his bullpens go, but with a guy like Scott, it might be best to have him get an inning here instead of having him waste pitches down there," Scioscia said.
Part of Mike Trout's depth as the most complete player in baseball is taking to the skies.
With his leaping Saturday night catch over the center-field wall to deprive Seattle's Miguel Olivo of a home run, the 21-year-old American League batting, stolen bases and runs leader has now robbed a homer three times this season.
"It's almost better than hitting a home run," Trout said, who nearly snared Jesus Montero's second-inning homer Sunday. "You always want to come up with a big play to get the team going."
"It's about knowing you'll be getting to the wall, finding the wall and not cutting yourself too short," Trout said. "Once you get to the warning track, you brace yourself to jump and go get it."
Jordan Walden, the Angels' other absent late-innings reliever, took the loss Saturday for triple-A Salt Lake in his first appearance since going on the disabled list July 15 with a right biceps strain and neck nerve issues.
"Physically, he felt good," said Scioscia, with Walden scheduled to throw again Monday.