By Matt Gelb The Philadelphia Inquirer
MINNEAPOLIS — The game’s best young hitter smashed 22 homers in the season’s first 90 games — more than any of the 10 sluggers who swung in Monday night’s Home Run Derby — but Mike Trout was nothing more than a spectator for it all.
A reluctant one at that.
“A lot of guys are giving me crap about it, not doing it,” Trout said. “But eventually, I’ll probably do it.”
Trout insinuated that Angels manager Mike Scioscia discouraged him from participating. Trout was never selected. Scioscia, Trout said, feared his 22-year-old superstar could injure himself during the event.
This is Trout’s third All-Star appearance. He has yet to hit in the derby but would welcome the opportunity in the future.
“If I get another chance, and if I said I wanted to do it,” Trout said. “Scioscia would be against it, but he would support it.”
Trout’s 79 homers since the start of the 2012 season are tied for eighth in baseball. He did not see the harm in a glorified batting-practice contest.
“No, no,” Trout said. “I don’t think it would mess up my swing.”
He will bat second, behind Derek Jeter, in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Trout wore No. 2 and idolized Jeter as a kid. Being there for Jeter’s final All-Star Game will be “something special, that’s for sure,” Trout said.
One could suggest that Tuesday serves as a chance for Jeter to pass the proverbial torch of Major League Baseball’s most marketable player to Trout. That idea elicited a laugh from Trout.
“I’m just going to keep playing the way I’ve been playing and see where things go,” Trout said. “I’ll just keep the same thing I’ve been doing; I don’t want to change it.”