Mike Trout thinks there is some correlation between his April 30 move from left field to center and the beginning of a month-long surge in which he hit .333 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 29 games entering Friday. He just has no idea how much.
“When you’re out there playing free and comfortable, I think you play better,” said Trout, who was hitting .252 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 25 games before the switch. “But I don’t know if there’s a difference in how I hit when I’m playing center or left. I think I just got hot when I moved to center.”
Manager Mike Scioscia confirmed Thursday that Trout, the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year, will return to left when the speedy Peter Bourjos, a superb defender who opened the season in center, returns from a left hamstring strain.
The decision has sparked a wave of opposition from fans and some media members who have likened it to asking a young Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle to move from center to left.
But Trout, who at 21 has already established himself as one of the best players in the game, is in acceptance about the move, which could happen June 10 in Baltimore, when Bourjos is expected to be activated.
“I really can’t do much because I know that’s the plan,” Trout said. “Whatever’s best for team, I’ll do. Down the road, I’d like to play center field. I definitely feel more comfortable there. I played it my whole life. It comes naturally to me.
“In left field, it’s tough to get used to the different angles, the way the ball comes off the bat differently, the way balls curve and the way they come out of the lights. But you want to do what’s best for the team. With Petey in center field, that’s the way it’s going to be.”