Angels center fielder Mike Trout declined an invitation to participate in the home run derby, opting instead to watch teammate Albert Pujols compete in the event Monday night at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark.
“I thought about it, a lot of people were saying I should do it, but it’s my decision,” Trout said before Wednesday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field. “It’s one of the things I like to watch growing up. I’m eventually going to do it. I just want to see Albert win it, and we’ll go from there.”
Trout, who will start for the American League in Tuesday night’s All-Star game, said he wasn’t concerned that the home run derby might affect his swing.
“Like Albert says,” Trout said, “it’s just like taking another round of batting practice.”
Trout, who ranks third in the AL with 22 home runs, said that Manager Mike Scioscia, who is not a big proponent of the derby, was not a factor in his decision.
“I didn’t even talk to him about it,” Trout said. “Obviously, Scioscia doesn’t like it, but he didn’t come up to me and tell me I couldn’t do it. I’m sure he’s against it, but he said it was up to me.”
Pujols, who leads the AL with 26 home runs, will oppose Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs in the first round. The other derby participants will be the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, Baltimore’s Manny Machado, Toronto’s Josh Donaldson, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier and Texas’ Prince Fielder.
“Albert wanted me to do it, and my friends back home were always texting me, wanting me to do it,” Trout said. “I enjoyed watching it as a kid. Being on the field and having a teammate do it this year will be fun.”
Trout was concerned enough about being pitched inside that he began wearing an elbow pad Tuesday night after getting hit by a pitch for the third time in three games and seventh time this season, tied for fourth-most in the league.
“I don’t think it’s any secret how guys are trying to pitch to Mike — they try to pitch him inside,” Scioscia said. “We pitch aggressively inside too. We’ve hit more guys than we’ve had hit. It’s just part of baseball.”