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Los Angeles try to play Mike Trout, the ‘best player in the world’

Ahead of the oddity his superstar center fielder faced Thursday, Angels manager Phil Nevin shared his strategy against Mike Trout with reporters. it was easy. After watching Trout get hit by a pitch against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, a scare that made all of the Angels and Team USA affiliates collectively hold their breath, the Angels were going to launch.

“And then the first pitch, or the second pitch, is up and in,” Trout said with a smile after coming off Team USA’s 6-0 win over the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Moments after walking away from the dangerously close pitch, Trout received an offer from former Dodger Tyler Anderson and ducked a fly ball to the warning track in left field to end his first at-bat at Tempe Diablo Stadium against his teammates. . What would have been a two-run home run was a fly ball.

“And then they start saying I missed it,” Trout said jokingly.

Trout went 0 for 2 with a walk hitting third for the Americans in his second of two outings before the World Baseball Classic. Team USA will open Pool C play on Saturday night against Great Britain at Chase Field, marking the end of Trout’s long run since he announced he would enter the tournament for the first time last summer. .

Trout became Team USA’s top recruiter once he committed, helping general manager Tony Reagins and manager Mark DeRosa put together the roster. His first call was to Philadelphia Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper, who was all-in before needing Tommy John surgery. Mookie Betts was not far behind. Soon enough, the USA had enough stars to field the best American lineup ever in international competition.

Smack dab in the middle of the constellation is Trout, the team’s captain and, at 31, considered by many of his peers to be the best position player in the world.

“He’s bringing the best player in the world into the clubhouse,” third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “He is a great teammate, speaking of the game. He’s always up to talk about hitting and he works hard, man. This guy works hard now. Now I know why he is the best”.

Trout is one of several American stars playing in the WBC for the first time. He said he was motivated to participate after watching the high-stakes, high-energy games the US won on their way to the tournament title in 2017. Those kinds of games have been few and far between in his career. in the big leagues. Trout has played in just three postseason games in his 12-year career, all in 2014 and all in losses.

While Saturday’s opener won’t produce the best atmosphere the tournament has to offer (Great Britain isn’t exactly a baseball draw), Sunday’s game against Mexico is packed. intensity is expected.

“I’m sure there are some big games coming up,” Trout said. “Obviously, the game in Mexico on Sunday will be electric. I really want to do it.”

Angels lefty Patrick Sandoval is scheduled to start Sunday for Mexico. It will be another opportunity for Trout to take on a teammate. That game will matter more. The game plan won’t be that simple.