TEMPE, Ariz. -- Michael Trout said Friday morning that though he's not playing for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic because of personal reasons, he very well could participate the next time around in the 2021 tournament.Trout will be 29 by then and a 10-year veteran.• Complete World
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Michael Trout said Friday morning that though he's not playing for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic because of personal reasons, he very well could participate the next time around in the 2021 tournament.
Trout will be 29 by then and a 10-year veteran.
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"It's a fun thing for the country," Trout told MLB.com before the Angels staged their last workout at Tempe Diablo Stadium before opening the Cactus League schedule Saturday against the visiting Brewers. "It happens again in four years? Maybe next time I'll do it."
The Angels' star center fielder is the reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner and is considered one of the top players in Major League Baseball. In his six seasons, he's won the AL MVP Award twice, the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2012 and the All-Star Game MVP Award in '14 and '15.
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Trout's career slash line is a gaudy .306/.405/.557 with 917 hits, 168 homers, 497 RBIs, 600 runs scored and a .963 OPS.
Yet, Trout said it wasn't the right time to play in the Classic.
"It's a personal decision, it's really nothing more than that," Trout said without going into detail. "No particular reason, just personal. It doesn't have to do with Spring Training or anything. It was just my decision."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Friday that Trout won't be in Saturday's lineup, and he said he intends to take it slow this spring with Trout and Jose Pujols, who's recovering from offseason surgery to repair plantar fasciitis in his right foot and is hoping to be ready for Opening Day on April 3 against the A's in Oakland.
"These guys are only going to run the bases for the second time today," Scioscia said. "There's no sense for [Trout] to play [Saturday], give him two or three days off and then play him again. Guys will get in there on their schedules. We've got their schedules worked out. We'll have other guys playing [Saturday], but it won't be Mike."
Team USA is slated to open Pool C play March 10 against Colombia at Marlins Park. Canada and the defending champion Dominican Republic complete a tough Pool C. If the U.S. is one of two teams to survive, it's on to Petco Park in San Diego for the second round from March 14-19.
The championship round is at Dodger Stadium from March 20-22. In 2009, Japan defeated Korea to win its second Classic title there in a 10-inning affair that was one of the most exciting international games ever played.
The U.S. made its best showing that year, losing a semifinal game to Japan. The goal now is to do much better.
With that in mind, the U.S. will gather at the Red Sox camp in Fort Myers, Fla., on March 5 and play exhibition games against Minnesota on March 8 and Boston on March 9 before heading south to Miami.
Trout said it gave him pause when he saw the depth of this year's U.S. squad. It's stocked offensively with Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, Christian Yelich, Daniel Murphy, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.
It's a virtual All-Star team, even without Trout, who will view it from a distance.
"They're going to be good for sure. I'm definitely going to watch it," Trout said. "Certainly sometime in my career, I'm going to do it."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.