Mike Trout has not heard from Major League Baseball about this month’s home run derby, and neither has he made a decision about whether he will participate if invited. If he is to take part, the choice must be made in the next few days.
In 2014, Trout declined the opportunity, Angels citing Manager Mike Scioscia’s reticence to have him take so many swings. But the league made its rules less demanding last season. Asked Friday how he would feel if Trout was invited and decided to do the derby, Scioscia referenced those adjustments.
“First of all, it’s always been his decision,” Scioscia said. “But I think the home run derby is much more manageable now for a player than it was even two or three years ago, which is good. There’s more of an endpoint to this than before.”
Albert Pujols made the semifinals a year ago. Even under the new format, he tired before the competition’s end, he told Scioscia.
The last home run derby Trout participated in was six years ago in Fort Wayne, Ind. He lost to Nate Freiman, a first baseman now in Boston’s organization. St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams and Oakland outfielder Khris Davis also competed.
Smith activated, Morin optioned
After two appearances on rehab assignment, Joe Smith has rejoined the Angels, activated from a 24-day disabled-list stint for a strained hamstring. The Angels optioned fellow reliever Mike Morin to triple A for the second time this season; he had opened spring training as the favorite to be the team’s No. 3 relief choice.
Scioscia stopped short of saying Smith would regain his eighth-inning setup spot but noted he may not yet be able to pitch on consecutive days.
Smith, a free agent at season’s end, understands he is a prime candidate to be traded by Aug. 1. He said he’s open to signing an extension with the Angels but recognizes why it has not happened.
“Really, why would you?” he said, citing his 3.91 earned-run average in 25 appearances this year. “Would I like to stay? Yeah, but I’d rather take the approach of, ‘Let’s go pitch and see what happens.’”
Left-hander Andrew Heaney underwent Tommy John surgery as scheduled Friday morning in Los Angeles. He’ll likely be out until 2018. … Third baseman Yunel Escobar took batting practice and participated in defensive drills but was deemed not fit to start Friday. He has not played since June 23. Placing him on the disabled list remains a possibility. … Scioscia said catcher Geovany Soto, rehabbing now for triple-A Salt Lake, could be activated as soon as Tuesday, when the Angels are in St. Petersburg, Fla., to play the Tampa Bay Rays. … MLB’s international signing period begins Saturday. Because of their Roberto Baldoquin signing two years ago, the Angels cannot sign a player for more than $300,000.