Mike Trout is torn. The Angels center fielder is widely considered the best all-around player in baseball, and he is also a premier slugger, as evidenced by his prodigious 489-foot home run, as projected by ESPN, in Kansas City on Friday night.
Trout is a virtual lock to start his second straight All-Star game on July 15, garnering more than 4 million votes in Monday's final balloting update. He knows his participation in the home run derby would be good for the game, and he wants to show his appreciation to the fans by competing in it.
But Trout, who is batting .314 with a team-leading 18 homers and 59 runs batted in, seemed genuinely conflicted when asked what he would tell Jose Bautista, the American League home run derby captain, if the Toronto outfielder invites him to participate.
"I don't know yet, to tell you the truth," Trout said before Monday night's game against the Chicago White Sox in U.S. Cellular Field was rained out. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Tuesday. "It's kind of a weird topic for me right now. I have mixed feelings. I want to do it, and I don't want to do it."
Mike Scioscia would prefer Trout not do it, but ultimately, the manager said, it is the player's decision.
"As a fan, you're interested in it, it's a fun part of the All-Star experience, but I know the grind it takes to go through that, and it's affected more players' second halves than helped," Scioscia said.
"I don't think it's as much the changing of the swing. It's the volume of full-gorilla swings in a short amount of time. It's like you're on a driving range. You're letting the shaft out from the beginning. It takes a toll on your body."
Trout has played in all but four games this season. If he adds the July 14 home run derby to the All-Star game and the travel to and from Minnesota for the event, he won't get much of a break.
"Personally, I don't think it would mess up my swing — I did one in Class A," Trout said. "But the All-Star break is a time to relax, to take batting practice and enjoy the derby. I have a good time watching it. There are guys out there who want to do it. It's something I want to do, definitely, later in my career."
Monday's rainout extended Hector Santiago's stay in the rotation for at least one more game, because the Angels will need six starters over the next five days.
Garrett Richards and Jered Weaver will start Tuesday's doubleheader. Tyler Skaggs (right hamstring strain) will come off the disabled list to start Wednesday against the White Sox, and Matt Shoemaker, C.J. Wilson and Santiago will start the next three games against Houston, though not necessarily in that order.
When the Angels go back to five starters, the final spot will come down to Santiago, who is 0-7 with a 4.08 earned-run average but has given up four runs in 15 1/3 innings of three starts since June 10, or Shoemaker, who is 5-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 13 games, including eight starts.
Whoever is bumped from the rotation will probably remain in the bullpen as a long man. As a left-hander with extensive relief experience, Santiago could be a valuable asset to a bullpen that has no left-hander.
"I definitely feel like I'm throwing well enough to get my spot back, but you can't take anything away from Shoe," Santiago said. "He's been doing as good a job as anybody."
Reliever Fernando Salas (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled for another 30-pitch bullpen workout Tuesday, and Scioscia said there is a "strong chance" the right-hander will be activated Wednesday or Thursday. … Veteran right-hander Joel Pineiro, released by triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday, was hit with a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a prohibited stimulant.
Right-hander Richards (8-2, 2.76 ERA) will oppose Chicago right-hander Hector Noesi (2-5, 5.07) at U.S. Cellular Field in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday at 2 p.m. PDT. Right-hander Weaver (8-6, 3.33) will oppose right-hander Scott Carroll (2-4, 4.76) in Game 2. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830.