Trumbo seeks jump-start in return to Angel Stadium
ANAHEIM -- Mark Trumbo acknowledges that getting traded by the D-backs in midseason has been one of the bigger challenges in his baseball career, adjusting to a new Mariners club and settling into a new city and surroundings on the fly.
So returning to Angel Stadium, where he played his first four Major League seasons just 10 minutes from his childhood home could be the perfect tonic for the 29-year-old who has struggled at the plate in his first three weeks with the Mariners.
He went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored in Seattle's 3-1 win in the series opener.
"It's a fun day, sure," Trumbo said before his first appearance in Anaheim since being dealt to the D-backs in December 2013. "There are a lot of emotions, but I'm really excited that I get the chance to come and play in a familiar place where I have a lot of cool memories."
Trumbo put up a .258/.303/.469 line with 45 homers and 127 RBIs in 229 games at Angel Stadium with the team that drafted him out of nearby Villa Park High School in the 18th round in 2004. He won several Rookie of the Year honors for the Angels in 2011, was an American League All-Star in '12 and averaged 32 homers and 94 RBIs in his three full seasons with the club.
So how much might coming home help in this time of transition in Seattle, where he hit just .159 with one home run and five RBIs in his first 17 games since being acquired from Arizona?
"We'll see after the end of the series," Trumbo said. "You don't know. Obviously I had quite a few at-bats here. I guess you know what to expect in that regard. And any mental comfort that can provide you is not a bad thing."
Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon acknowledged the difficulty of a player's entire life getting turned upside down in a trade, but said he's seen signs of Trumbo settling in.
"I think the at-bats are better, the bat speed is good," McClendon said. "He's laid off a lot of pitches. He's also hit some balls on the nose and had some tough luck, too. He hasn't hit for a lot of power, but he's back in a ballpark he's very familiar with and hopefully this will jump-start him."
Trumbo said he's kept in touch with many of the Angels players and acknowledged it felt a little strange returning to his old haunt and heading into the visiting clubhouse. But in the end, all that gets put aside once the games start.
"It feels like business," he said. "It'll be great seeing everybody that I played with and keep in touch with, but ultimately I'm here with the Mariners trying to help this team win games."
And the Angels expect nothing else from a player who was popular in and out of the clubhouse in his time in Anaheim.
"I think what I remember about Mark, he's never afraid of a challenge," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "We tried to play him at third base, and he worked until his fingers were bleeding trying to get proficient down there.
"The way he took everything in stride, whether it was a tough time trying to play third base or getting into the All-Star Game and hitting some of the pitches he hit in the Home Run Derby in Kansas City was just incredible," Scioscia said. "From both ends, Mark always just took it in stride, and that's kind of the way he is."