ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout rounded third base wearing a white N-95 mask Friday morning as he participated in the Los Angeles Angels first workout of summer camp.
The reigning American League MVP is taking every necessary precaution as he ponders whether he will be the lineup when the season begins in three weeks.
Trout and his wife, Jessica, are expecting the couple’s first child in August. The 28-year old outfielder said his mindset is to play in the virus-delayed, 60-game season, but a lot will hinge on how he feels the next couple weeks
“Honestly, I still don’t feel that comfortable,” he said. “This is a tough time, a tough situation everyone is in. Everybody has a responsibility in this clubhouse. Social distance, stay inside, wear a mask and be safe.”
“If I test positive, I talked to doctors and they said I couldn’t see the baby for 14 days or Jess can’t see the baby for 14 days if she’s positive, we’re going to be upset. I think the biggest issue is keeping Jess safe, the baby safe, obviously me. Coming to the field every day getting tested is huge. I have to be really cautious.”
The three-time AL MVP continues to have discussions with general manager Billy Eppler and manager Joe Maddon. Trout rarely took off his mask and maintained social distancing throughout the two-hour workout at Angel Stadium.
Trout said he talks to his wife every night as they continue to figure out what is best. All options remain on the table, including not playing until the baby arrives.
For now, the main thing that Trout and Maddon are stressing is that everyone has to be accountable for their actions.
“Right now we’re all being asked to be the best version of ourselves, the best teammate you’ve ever been in your life,” Maddon said. “Everyone is talking about the high risk individuals opting out. To me the person who should opt out is the person who does not want to follow the protocols.”
Maddon, in his first season with the Angels after five years with the Chicago Cubs, also said he had a good conversation with Trout last night and that he empathizes with everything he is facing.
“Everybody’s truth matters right now. That’s the one thing I have appealed to our guys,” Maddon said. “There’s so much buried information I’ve encouraged everyone to think for themselves. I’m appealing to our guys to be as informed as they can and then arrive at their own truth. Tell me what they feel.”
While Trout is pleased about the protocols in place, he was not happy that negotiations between Major League Baseball and the players association about resuming the season spilled out into the public domain.
Trout is scheduled to earn roughly $13.3 million of his $36M salary if he plays this year.
“We signed a contract to get paid each game. Obviously you heard the comments from (Commissioner Rob) Manfred the other day that their whole intentions was to play 60 games,” Trout said. “It just got way messier than what it should have been. It should have just been closed doors, going back and forth, getting it done and coming out with a deal.”
With every game carrying large stakes, Trout is hoping to get off to another quick start. He is batting .303 while averaging 14 home runs and 38 RBIs in the Angels’ first 60 games the last seven seasons. Los Angeles has not made the postseason since 2014.
“Obviously I think the biggest thing is the team that stays the safest and the healthiest is going to obviously have the edge,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this 60-game stretch and day one is going to mean something. Obviously it’s going to mean something regardless, but you’ve 60 games. You’ve got to try to win all of them.”
Notes: Maddon said “nine or 10” players were missing from workouts in Anaheim and Long Beach, but could not give a reason. MLB has said that a team will not specifically announce a COVID-19 injured list placement for a player who is removed from the club after testing positive. … RHPs Shohei Ohtani threw a bullpen session and Griffin Canning pitched a simulated game.