Mike Trout is a weather aficionado who loves a good thunder-and-lightning downpour as much as any Plains states storm tracker, but he could have done without the one that left the Angels marooned in their Texas clubhouse until the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Heavy weather after a 5-4 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night prevented the team’s plane from departing Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport until about 3:30 a.m. CDT. The bus didn’t leave the stadium until about 1:45 a.m.
The Angels landed in Los Angeles about 4:30 a.m. PDT and bused to Anaheim. Most players were lucky to get home and to sleep by 6 a.m. They skipped batting practice Thursday night and did not have to report to the stadium until 5 p.m.
“It’s not good — it’s not healthy,” said Trout, who has been slowed by a groin injury and started his fourth straight game at designated hitter Thursday night. “Rest is a big part of the game, keeping your body healthy. When you take off from a city at 3:30 in the morning, it’s tough.
“I got five, maybe six hours sleep. You’ve got a sleeping schedule. When you go to bed that late it’s tough to go to sleep. Obviously, you’re tired [for the next game]. You’re still sluggish.”
Most big league veterans have experienced enough travel delays and early morning arrivals to know how to prepare for games on minimal sleep.
“You go out there and battle, you get through it,” Trout said. “Once the game starts and you get your body moving . . . you just get loose.”
Those who haven’t been in the big leagues long, such as rookie reliever Ty Buttrey, have taken enough all-night bus rides in the minor leagues to know how to handle the hardship.
“I try not to think about it,” Buttrey said. “Like, if you tell yourself, ‘Oh, I’m going to have a bad day,’ then you feed into what you think. If you say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to wake up at 10 a.m. and feel like crap and I’m going to pitch like crap,’ then you are.”
There was one benefit to spending several hours in the clubhouse talking, playing cards and video games and watching television after the Angels’ third straight loss.
“It was cool,” shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. “You get to jell, to hang out with the guys and have fun without having to play a game at that time.”
And one drawback to slipping into the house near sunrise?
“I scared my wife when I got home,” Simmons said.
A large group of Japanese media gathered around injured Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani and Seattle left-hander Yusel Kikuchi when the players met Thursday afternoon. But the traditional pregame greeting between Japanese big leaguers was a little different, a little special. Ohtani and Kikuch both attended Hanamaki Higashi High School in Iwate, Japan, though not at the same time. . . . Ohtani, recovering from elbow surgery, will take batting practice on the field with teammates Friday and is expected to begin facing live pitching in simulated games next week. Could the Angels summon free-agent pitchers Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel to Anaheim to throw to Ohtani? “Only if we sign them,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “That would get the rumors going.” . . . Ausmus said Trout, barring a setback, will return to center field Friday night. . . . Left-handed starter Tyler Skaggs (left-ankle sprain) will throw off a mound this weekend.