Mike Trout embraces role as All-Star Game stalwart – while also mourning Tyler Skaggs

CLEVELAND – At 27, Mike Trout is something of a of grizzled veteran.

Set to start Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Los Angeles Angels outfielder is making his eighth consecutive appearance, tied with Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw for the most selections of all the players here this year.

The veteran role is one he embraces, especially with 36 first-time All-Stars on this year’s rosters.

“I’ve got the All-Star appearance kind of figured out,” Trout said with a laugh Monday. “You see so much young talent in the league these days, a lot of first-time All-Stars that have questions and I’m obviously here to answer them.”

When Trout made his All-Star debut in 2012, he was among potential future Hall of Famers like Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre, so he can certainly relate to what all the newbies are experiencing this week.

Trout has 28 home runs at the All-Star break. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)

“Your first one, you’re kind of starstruck – you’ve got guys you’ve grown up watching on TV and now you’re in the same clubhouse, same team. It’s pretty surreal,” Trout recalls.

Trout is of course enjoying another Mike Trout season, leading the majors in WAR heading into the All-Star break. His 1.098 OPS is the best mark of his career and he’s on pace to shatter his personal bests in home runs and RBI.

ALL-STAR GAME:Lineups, starting pitchers

HOME RUN DERBY:Who's going to win it all?

During spring training, the two-time MVP ended all the questions about his future by agreeing to a 12-year, $430 million extension with the organization that drafted him in 2009. It’s a bit of a weight off his shoulders, as the rumors about his potential 2020 free agency were starting to find their way into the headlines.

“You don’t have to worry about contract and stuff, you just go out there and play,” Trout said. “Since I signed it, I don’t really talk about it or even worry about it anymore.”

The festivities in Cleveland of course come just a week after the death of Angels teammate Tyler Skaggs. The pitcher's death has weighed heavily on Trout, who was in tears speaking to the media in the days after Skaggs passed.

“I knew Tyler would want me to be here and represent the Angels," Trout said Monday. "It’s also good to help me get my mind off things and spend some time with family and friends."

As to whether he and others might honor Skaggs during Tuesday's game, Trout said he had given it some thought.

"I might do something. We're not sure yet."

Source: Read Full Article