Seattle Manager Lloyd McClendon hopes a return to Angel Stadium will be an elixir of sorts for Mariners outfielder Mark Trumbo, who is batting .159 with one home run, five runs batted in, 18 strikeouts and one walk since he was traded from Arizona to Seattle on June 3.
Trumbo, the former Angels slugger who attended Villa Park High, will be playing his first game in Anaheim since the Angels traded him to the Diamondbacks after the 2013 season. He will be in right field and bat sixth for the Mariners against the Angels on Friday night.
“He’s back in a park he’s very familiar with, so hopefully it’s a jump-start for him,” McClendon said. “It’s not easy being traded. Your whole life changes. I think he’s adjusting. I think he just needs that one big game to get out of it. The at-bats are better. The bat speed is good. He’s hit some balls on the nose and had some tough luck.”
Getting traded during the off-season “was a lot easier than getting traded in-season,” Trumbo said. “Guys do it all the time, but it’s not the easiest thing in the world. I’m getting more acclimated to things here. I want to start playing to my capabilities sooner rather than later.”
The same could be said for many of his new teammates. Seattle was picked by many to win the American League West and by some to reach the World Series, but its offense is at the bottom of league rankings in just about every category, and the Mariners are tied for last place in the AL West with a 33-40 record.
“This team is tremendously deep offensively and on the pitching side too,” Trumbo said. “So far it’s been inconsistent, obviously. A lot of the wins have been really good wins, and some of the losses have gotten away from us.”
Trumbo hit .250 with 95 homers and 284 RBIs in three seasons (2011-2013) with the Angels, his best year coming in 2013, when he hit .234 with 34 homers and 100 RBIs.
He came up to the big leagues as a first baseman, but when the Angels signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240-million deal before 2012, Trumbo tried to move — unsuccessfully — to third base and eventually settled in at the designated hitter, corner outfield and backup first-base spots.
“He was never afraid of a challenge,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of Trumbo. “We tried him at third base, and he worked until his fingers were bleeding trying to get proficient down there. He took everything in stride.”
Scioscia expects Trumbo to be greeted warmly by Angels fans Friday night, but not just because he was one of the most popular players during his tenure in Anaheim.
Several days after the Angels traded Trumbo to Arizona in December of 2013, Trumbo joined several Angels players at the team’s annual children’s holiday party at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney.
“Mark not only played great for us when he was here, he’s just a great guy,” Scioscia said. “Whatever he needed to do in the community he did. I always refer to that Christmas party.
“He was traded a few days before, and he still showed up because he had committed to it. He knows how much the kids look forward to it. That’s the kind of guy he is, so I hope he gets a warm reception.”