Trout's fingerprints all over Midsummer Classic
Angels outfielder doubles on game's first pitch, plays into seventh inning
NEW YORK -- You can tell a lot about Mike Trout's standing in this game having simply observed the bottom of the seventh inning on Tuesday night. Every single American League starter had been taken out by then, except Trout himself. Jim Leyland, skipper of a first-place Tigers team that stood to gain a lot from this All-Star Game, chose to keep the 21-year-old Angels outfielder in a bit longer.
It was his best chance of winning.
"I'll stay out there as long as I can," Trout said. "It was just an opportunity to go out there and show what I got. I had fun with it."
Trout went 1-for-3 in the AL's 3-0 win over the Senior Circuit at Citi Field and -- as usual -- made a little history, joining Al Kaline as the only player ever to record two All-Star Game hits before the age of 22.
Trout, with a single and a walk at last year's Midsummer Classic, had never faced the electric Matt Harvey, but he wasn't going to watch video because, well, as he said, "It'd be kind of weird watching film at the All-Star Game."
He was going to look for a pitch and take it from there.
Trout needed only one -- an outside-corner, 97-mph fastball he laced down the right-field line for a leadoff double.
"I was up there looking for a fastball," said Trout, eventually stranded that inning. "Whether I was going to swing, that's another thing. I was looking for a pitch, I got it, didn't try to do too much and drove it to right field.
"I heard a lot of good stuff about his secondary stuff, and I didn't want to get to it."
Trout flied out to right field against Clayton Kershaw in the third and grounded into an inning-ending double play against Cliff Lee in the fifth. He took Adam Jones' place in center field for the seventh, then finally came out in the top of the eighth.
Torii Hunter, his mentor, pinch-hit.
"It was kind of appropriate," Hunter said. "My little guy."
Trout's parents and brother were waiting for him outside a bustling visitors' clubhouse at around midnight ET, about to make the three-hour drive south to their place in Millville, N.J., where Trout will spend most of the day on Thursday.
But Trout's focus was on a giant brown box that was neatly packed with memorabilia from his first All-Star Game start -- batting gloves, spikes, pictures, you name it.
His favorite item was an AL jersey signed by every single one of the All-Stars who took part in the game.
His favorite memory: Leaning against the railing with every one of his temporary teammates, and watching legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera jog out to an empty field to take the mound for the bottom of the eighth. Rivera was named Most Valuable Player of his final Midsummer Classic.
"That was one of the things I wanted to watch coming into this game," Trout said. "Just to see the reactions -- it was very special for me, just to see the crowd's reaction and the standing ovation in the game."