Mike Trout has two hits in first game since last May as Angels win exhibition

Mike Trout during a spring training workout March 14, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz.
Mike Trout, shown during a workout Monday, went two for two with two sharp singles in the Angels’ 12-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. “I’m just excited to be out there and healthy,” he said.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

It had been 10 months — 306 days, to be exact — since Mike Trout played in a competitive baseball game, so long that the team the Angels center fielder suffered a season-ending injury against in 2021 no longer exists.

Trout was running from second to third on a Jared Walsh fly ball to shallow left field in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians last May 17 when he felt a pop in his lower leg and suffered a right-calf strain.

The three-time American League most valuable player hobbled to the third base dugout at Angel Stadium and never played again, a late-July setback sidelining him for the rest of the season.


The Indians never returned. They changed their name to the Guardians over the winter. Trout did, and he showed a large crowd at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Saturday what the Angels have been missing, singling sharply twice to left-center field in two at-bats in a 12-5 Cactus League win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“It’s been a long time,” Trout said after exiting a game in which the Angels had 19 hits, including homers by Taylor Ward, Max Stassi, Jack Mayfield and Jose Rojas. “I’m just excited to be out there and healthy.

“I was a little anxious before the game, but it felt really good. Two at-bats, saw some pitches. … Just being able to go out there and be with the guys is fun.”

Noah Syndergaard, the former New York Mets star who signed a one-year, $21-million deal with the Angels, believes his history of injuries is behind him.

March 18, 2022

Trout hit third Saturday behind Shohei Ohtani, an alignment manager Joe Maddon said he will probably use in the regular season, with Anthony Rendon batting cleanup. He could also bat Ohtani leadoff and Trout second.

“It’s possible,” Maddon said of Ohtani and Trout hitting second and third, respectively. “Shohei could also hit No. 1. As long as Anthony’s here, that makes things different. I haven’t decided on that yet.”

Trout has hit second in 665 career starts and third in 420 starts. He hit second in his first 35 starts last season before Maddon switched him and Ohtani, the two-way star who hit 46 homers and 100 RBIs, for that May 17 game.


“Yeah, I like it,” Trout said of batting behind Ohtani. “He gets on base a lot. He does hit homers, though. The meat of the lineup, it’s gonna be pretty good.”

Who’s on first?

Justin Upton, possibly. The veteran left fielder, whose playing time could be squeezed by young outfielders Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, is working out at first base this spring in hopes of giving Maddon another right-handed-hitting option if he wants to sit Walsh against a tough left-hander.

Walsh was an All-Star in 2021, batting .277 with an .850 on-base-percentage, 29 homers and 98 RBIs, but he hit .170 with a .565 OPS in 192 plate appearances against left-handers.

“There may be some opportunities there,” Maddon said of Upton. “There are different ways to get his bat in the lineup. He started out as a shortstop years ago, so he doesn’t mind being on the dirt at all.”

Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon return to the Angels after injury-marred seasons. Combined by Shohei Ohtani, they could form one of the game’s best trios.

March 16, 2022

Upton, 34, was limited by back injuries to 89 games in 2021, a season in which he hit .211 with a .705 OPS, 17 homers and 41 RBIs. In the final year of a five-year contract that will pay him $28-million this season, Upton is more concerned with his health than his position.

A toe injury limited him to 63 games in 2019. He batted .339 with a 1.093 OPS last June before going on the injured list June 23. He aggravated the injury in late July and hit .126 with a .442 OPS, three homers and nine RBIs in 26 games over the final three months.


“If I can stay on the field, I’ll produce,” said Upton, who singled and was hit by a pitch Saturday. “That’s the name of the game. Health is wealth.”

Big in Japan

Trout got a kick out of a video clip in which new Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki, when asked during his introductory news conference why he chose No. 27, said “Mike Trout … I love you.”

Trout spoke to Ohtani about Suzuki on Saturday morning.

“That was awesome, pretty cool,” Trout said. “When I got that alert on my phone, I thought … I’m just looking forward to meeting him.”