Angels' Trout feeling more comfortable this springBy JIM RICHARDS , Associated Press
Feb. 19, 2014 4:06 PM ET
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Angels outfielder Mike Trout shares a locker room with the likes of Albert Pujols and he still draws a crowd.
That's what happens to players who are linked to Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Pujols as the only players in major league history to hit .320 with 50 home runs and 200 runs scored in their first two full seasons.
On Wednesday, Trout held court with hordes of reporters in the right-field stands at the team's training facility in Tempe. It was a stark contrast to two years ago, when Trout joined other Angels prospects in a corner of the locker room and only sporadically fielded questions.
He said he spent a great deal of the offseason in the woods as a hunter and with a trainer to keep up his 235-pound build.
He even found something to improve on from last season's .323 average, .432 on-base percentage, 27-homer, 97-RBI line.
"There's always something to work on," said the 22-year-old Trout, who will play center field exclusively this season. "My steals were down. I've got to take advantage of getting that extra base on the base paths.
"From a team standpoint, we've got to have better starts. The last two years killed us. We've got to figure out a way to prepare ourselves to come out in a hot streak. I've always told myself and everybody that the first couple of weeks of the season can make or break your season. The last couple of years we've struggled. We've got to improve on that."
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia is of the opinion that Trout won't be relaxing after two standout seasons.
"He's certainly not a guy who's going to be prone to be complacent," Scioscia said. "Mike's undergone a progression in pro ball for the last three or four years. He's going to keep trying to improve in every aspect and try to be the most consistent player that he can.
"If you look at what his projected production will be, in a normal year for him his challenge will be for him to just do that year in and year out. If he does that, he's going to lead the charge and have an incredible career."
Scioscia seems to have Trout set to go in the No. 2 spot in the batting order but isn't yet 100 percent committed.
"We're still looking at how to slice things up," Scioscia said. "Second is really a very popular spot for him for one reason, he's not here just to set the table, he's here to knock in runs. And he'll have many more opportunities with guys in scoring position in the two hole than the one hole. In that aspect of trying to get the table set for Mike, it serves more of a purpose to have him in the two hole than it did from the one hole."
Trout said he feels more comfortable now than at this time last season.
"I'll play center field this year," Trout said. "I feel a lot more comfortable coming into the season. Last year I started out in left. That was a big adjustment for me. I've played center field my whole life."