TEMPE, Ariz. — One nasty collision with an outfield wall or failure to stick the landing on a headfirst slide or dive could cost Mike Trout millions. The Angels star is in negotiations with the team on what could be a nine-figure contract extension, and a major injury probably would table those talks.
That hasn’t slowed the center fielder a bit this spring, even if his aggressive play causes a few irregular heartbeats among the Angels and their fans.
Trout, the American League most valuable player runner-up in 2012 and 2013, gave the team a scare Sunday when he rolled his left wrist under his chest while attempting a diving catch in the outfield. Trout’s glove came off his hand and he got up slowly, but he remained in the game.
Though he sat out an 11-4 exhibition win Monday over the San Francisco Giants, Trout said that he’s fine and that the off day was scheduled.
“I think the rug burn hurt more than the fall,” Trout said. “I’m not sore or anything today. I’m good to go.”
Trout reiterated what he said earlier in camp, that he will not allow contract talks to inhibit his play on the field. He is batting .408 with a team-leading five home runs and 16 runs batted in this spring.
“I’m going to continue to play the game hard and do whatever it takes, diving, whatever,” Trout said. “I think as an outfielder, once you start thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to hit the wall,’ or if you play scared, that’s when you get hurt.”
Trout said he “hasn’t heard anything lately” about contract talks. Could the lack of an agreement six days before opening day be an indication negotiations have hit a snag?
“No, no,” Trout said, before realizing he said more than he wanted to on the subject. “We’re just getting ready for the season.”
Manager Mike Scioscia said Hector Santiago, Joe Blanton and Garrett Richards will start the exhibitions against the Dodgers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but that doesn’t mean Blanton, the struggling right-hander, will be in the rotation.
Tyler Skaggs, who is expected to win the fifth spot, probably will remain in Arizona to pitch in a minor league game Sunday, an off day before the Angels open the regular season against the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
Injuries to Sean Burnett, Dane De La Rosa and Brian Moran could open a bullpen spot for Blanton, but Scioscia has said the Angels don’t have to have a long reliever. Four off days in April — all on Thursdays — could allow the Angels to use one of their starters in long relief.
“That’s ideal,” Scioscia said of having a long reliever, “but not at the expense of losing a guy who can help you hold leads. With the off days we have in April, we might not need to have the traditional length in the bullpen.”
Opening-day starter Jered Weaver will pitch in a minor league game Tuesday so the Angels can regulate his workload. … De La Rosa, sidelined by a forearm strain, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Monday and is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game Wednesday or Thursday. He is questionable for opening day. … Burnett, who had a setback in his return from elbow surgery, hopes to throw a bullpen session Tuesday. … Most Angels regulars will travel to Southern California after the game Tuesday, but left-hander C.J. Wilson will remain in Arizona to start Wednesday in the Cactus League finale against Oakland. Relievers Kevin Jepsen and Joe Smith are also scheduled to pitch against the A’s.