ANAHEIM -- Michael Trout honored his late brother-in-law, Aaron Cox, with a touching tribute on Friday night, wearing "A. Cox" on the back of his Players' Weekend jersey during the Angels' 9-3 series-opening loss to the Astros at Angel Stadium.Trout had been expected to use "Kiiiiid" as his nickname, but
ANAHEIM -- Michael Trout honored his late brother-in-law, Aaron Cox, with a touching tribute on Friday night, wearing "A. Cox" on the back of his Players' Weekend jersey during the Angels' 9-3 series-opening loss to the Astros at Angel Stadium.
Trout had been expected to use "Kiiiiid" as his nickname, but he made the change after Cox died on Aug. 15 at age 24. Prior to the game, the Angels held a moment of silence for Cox, who was also a former Minor League pitcher for the club.
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"It meant a lot," Trout said. "I didn't really tell anybody I was doing it. I just came in here, I told [clubhouse manager] Keith [Tarter] before the game, 'It'd be cool to honor him tonight.' It was special. He was obviously a brother-in-law to me, but he was one of my closest friends.
"It's been an emotional and tough couple days for me and my family. When you lose a family member like that, it's tough. He was a great kid. I don't wish this upon anybody. When it happened, you just tell yourself you want to wake up from a dream or a bad nightmare. But we'll get through it. He's got a great family."
After missing more than three weeks, Trout was activated off the disabled list before the game, batting third and playing center field against the Astros. He had been away from the team since last week because of the family tragedy and hadn't played since Aug. 1 because of right wrist inflammation.
In his first at-bat of the night, Trout lined a triple off left-hander Dallas Keuchel off the left-field wall and received a stirring ovation from the 42,788 fans at Angel Stadium. Trout added a single in the eighth to finish 2-for-3 with a walk.
"Physically, he's ready to go," manager Mike Scioscia said before the game. "He wants to get back out there. It'll be an emotional burden that he and his family will carry forward. I think he's definitely ready to come out here and play baseball."
In an emotional Instagram post on Thursday, Trout reflected on his treasured memories of Cox, a fellow baseball star at Millville High School in New Jersey and the younger brother of Trout's wife, Jessica.
"You were more than just my brother-in-law... you were my best friend," Trout wrote. "You made such an impact on my life since the day I first met you. You were an amazing person inside & out that showed us all how to live life to the fullest. Seeing and hearing about your impact on other people are all things that made me a better person every single day.
"You will always be remembered for your crazy dance moves and your big smile and how much you cared for people and our family."
While Scioscia said he believes Trout can take some comfort in easing back into his everyday routine with the Angels, he acknowledged that baseball is "not a sanctuary" from grief.
"I think the routine helps you to get through stuff, but there's always that spot for any of us that have lost people," Scioscia said. "Anytime you sit back and reflect in the dugout, or out there on the field, it's always with you."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.