Mike Trout knew reporters were looking for him in Safeco Field’s visiting clubhouse Friday afternoon. Spotting them as he barreled around a corner, the Angels center fielder said he was ready to speak about his Wednesday car crash. And then he sighed.
“Oh, geez,” he said.
Leaning against a wall, Trout said he had never been involved in an automobile accident before Wednesday night, when he was returning home from a postgame dinner with teammates around 8:40 p.m.
According to the California Highway Patrol report of the incident, Trout swerved in his Mercedes to avoid congested traffic on the southbound 55 Freeway and struck another vehicle. The resulting impact pushed and spun that vehicle into another, and firefighters had to rescue a woman from one of them. She is said to have suffered major injuries.
“Obviously it shook me up a little bit, but physically I’m fine,” Trout said. “I’m just very fortunate. It could’ve been a lot more serious. It was a scary thing, for sure.”
When asked to describe the accident or corroborate reports of his involvement, including that he ran to check on the woman hurt in the collision, Trout repeatedly declined to comment, citing the pending insurance investigation.
“Obviously, the reports are what happened,” Trout said. “Other than that, I can’t really comment.”
He said he spoke to the Angels’ head athletic trainer, Adam Nevala, that night, but did not see a doctor. He told the team he felt fine Friday, and so he was inserted into the lineup.
“A lot of things go through your head,” Trout said. “I thought I was gonna wake up and obviously be sore. But when I woke up, I didn’t feel much.”
Trout hit a three-run home run with his first swing Friday, pushing a fastball out to the opposite field. He then worked walks in two plate appearances and flied out to end a furious ninth-inning comeback attempt in the Angels’ 11-8 loss to Seattle. Neither starter Brett Oberholtzer nor long reliever Jhoulys Chacin pitched to any degree of success.
“We spotted him four runs, and he walked the first hitter,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of Oberholtzer, who recorded three outs in his second start replacing Chacin in the rotation. “He was never able to establish anything.”
Scioscia said he wanted to see more of the 27-year-old left-hander, but would not commit to giving him another start. The Angels could replace him in five days with a triple-A call-up, perhaps left-hander Nate Smith.
“The way he struggled today,” Scioscia said, “we’re going to have to look at a couple things, for sure.”
Trout had taken Wednesday off, as had designated hitter Albert Pujols, who revealed Friday he underwent an MRI exam on his right foot while seeking further information on the source of soreness. The exam showed inflammation, he said, “that came from wearing the wrong orthotics.”
Pujols began employing an alternate set of orthotics during a series against the New York Yankees last month. He believed they had been fully broken in, but they had not, he said, and he began to feel particular pain on the artificial turf in Toronto the following week. He said the discomfort only increased, to the point that it hindered him during Monday’s and Tuesday’s games against Cincinnati.
Still, he said, the injury was “nothing to worry about.”
Pujols said off-season surgery has not been discussed. He said he felt a responsibility to continue to play and pursue victories in spite of the Angels’ standing.
“That’s the way I look at it. That’s the way I’ve always been looking at it, since I got to the big leagues,” Pujols said. “That’s what I’m here for. My job is to play in the game.”
Pujols was removed for a pinch-runner after singling in Friday’s ninth inning.
He was sidelined the final two months of 2013 because of a tear in the plantar fascia in his left foot. After a meeting that included owner Arte Moreno, Manager Mike Scioscia, and then-general manager Jerry Dipoto, the Angels opted to shut him down.
Asked how he would approach the 36-year-old’s rate of play in this season’s final month, Angels General Manager Billy Eppler said Friday he would trust Pujols.
“We’ll always have the dialogue: ‘How are you feeling?’” Eppler said. “He’ll tell us. His body will tell us. … And, with rosters expanded right now, you have the opportunity to present more rest options for him. We’ll engage him every day and see how he feels. He’ll be truthful with us.”
The Angels called up catcher Juan Graterol and relievers Andrew Bailey and Cody Ege from triple-A Salt Lake. All three appeared in Friday’s game, Graterol making his major league debut. The club will call up more players over the weekend and then Tuesday, after the triple-A season concludes. … Eppler said the Angels are considering having right-hander Alex Meyer make his next appearance with the major league team. The 26-year-old threw four innings for Salt Lake and struck out six men. … Third baseman Yunel Escobar was activated from the disabled list Friday. He was out nearly two weeks after fouling a ball off his face and returned with a face guard attached to his helmet.
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