With baby on the way, Trout unsure if he'll play

July 3rd, 2020

ANAHEIM -- said his love for baseball has kept him from electing not to play in 2020 but that he still has some trepidation because his wife, Jessica, is pregnant with their first child and is due in August.

Trout, a three-time American League MVP Award winner and eight-time All-Star, said Friday that he's going to try to be as safe as possible in the coming weeks to avoid exposure to the coronavirus and hasn't made up his mind on if he'll play.

"Honestly, I still don't feel comfortable with the baby coming," Trout said via Zoom. "Obviously with the baby coming there's a lot of stuff going through my mind right now, my wife's mind, my family. Trying to get the safest and most cautious way to get through a season. I told [general manager] Billy [Eppler] and I told a bunch of guys, it's going to be tough. I have to be really cautious the next few weeks. The biggest thing is I don't want to test positive and bring it back to my wife. I've thought hard about this and I'm still thinking about this."

Trout, 28, worked out with his teammates at Angel Stadium on Friday -- the first day of official workouts -- but he wore a mask while running the bases and during outfield drills. Trout wants to play but said he has nightly conversations with his wife and things could change.

"Obviously, sports is really big for the country right now but we're risking our families and our lives to go out there and play for everyone," Trout said. "My mindset is to play. I want to play. It's just a tough situation. I have to play it by ear. You never know what'll happen tomorrow or the next day. There could be an outbreak. There are a lot of questions I don't have the answer to."

Trout's wife is due in August and he's had conversations with Eppler about whether he'd be able to take a break from the team to attend the birth of his first child. He still hasn't received a definitive answer on how that will go but doesn't want to risk getting him or his wife infected with COVID-19.

"If I test positive, I talked to doctors and they said I couldn't see the baby for 14 days or Jess can't see the baby for 14 days if she's positive. If that happens, we're going to be upset," Trout said. "I think the biggest issue is keeping Jess safe, the baby safe, obviously me. Coming to the field every day getting tested is huge. I have to be really cautious."

Angels manager Joe Maddon has talked to Trout about the situation several times and said he's fully supportive of his star player's choice. Maddon added he hasn't heard of other Angels players who are on the fence about this season.

"Becoming a father for the first time is pretty significant," Maddon said. "And under these circumstances there are layers involved. He needs to stay well because he's going to be around these people. Everybody's truth matters right now."

Maddon reached out to team leaders, who, he refers to as his lead bulls, to make sure the message is loud and clear throughout the organization to take the coronavirus concerns seriously both at the ballpark and especially at home. There are roughly 180 people in Tier 1 and Tier 2 in the Angels' organization who have interactions with the players, so they all need to be diligent.

"I think everybody has to be accountable," Trout said. "A lot of guys are coming in and have family members. Couple of the guys are obviously single and younger guys gotta get out of the house. But it takes a group effort. One guy could mess this up or not wear a mask and then bring it into the clubhouse. And you know this virus, it's tough to contain."

Trout, though, said he does like his club's chances to make the postseason with a shortened 60-game schedule, especially given their health with the return of two-way star Shohei Ohtani and right-hander Griffin Canning. But, ultimately, there are other factors at play.

"The biggest thing is the team that stays the safest and the healthiest is going to have the edge," Trout said. "We're bringing back Ohtani throwing and Griffin Canning back. A lot of guys are back to full health and we have a full squad. It'll be fun. I think everybody is embracing it and trying to stay safe. I'm looking forward to this 60-game stretch. Day One is going to mean something."