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OC Register: Mike Trout says he’s still unsure about playing even as Angels workouts begin


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ANAHEIM — The Angels worked out on Friday morning at Angel Stadium, their first official team workout in 113 days, and Mike Trout was on the field, wearing a mask for some drills.

Whether he — or any of his teammates — will be there a week or a month from now is unclear as baseball attempts to stage a season amid a pandemic.

About “nine or 10” Angels players were unavailable to work out at Angel Stadium or their alternate site at Long Beach State on Friday, Manager Joe Maddon said. Maddon couldn’t say who those players were or why they were unavailable, but he said it wasn’t because any had opted out.

Trout was there, although he said he’s still wrestling with that decision. His wife is due to deliver the couple’s first child next month.

“Honestly, I still don’t feel comfortable with the baby coming,” Trout said. “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.”

Trout said at the moment he has decided to play because “I love playing this game,” but he conceded that discussions with his family are ongoing.

“It’s going to come down to how safe it’ll be,” he said. “If there’s an outbreak or something happens in the next few weeks, I’ll have to reconsider. There are a lot of questions. I love baseball, but I have to do what’s right for my family. It’s a tough decision if something happens down the road. A lot of guys have questions.

“It’s a tough and crazy situation right now in the country and in the world. Nobody really knows or has the answers. I talk to my wife every night about this. I know I’m risking myself and that I could get this virus but it’s the last thing I want to do. I’ve talked to a lot of guys around the league and they’re texting me a lot and they’re all thinking the same thing. Is this going to work? We just have to stay as safe as we can.”

Teams began three weeks of workouts at their home ballparks on Friday. The Angels have 56 players on their camp roster, with those players split between Angel Stadium and Blair Field in Long Beach.

All players were subject to coronavirus testing prior to the start of camp, and anyone who tests positive would be excluded from team activities until two consecutive negative tests.

Teams are not revealing which players test positive. Maddon, however, said that there is only one physical injury among the 56 players, an oblique issue for Dillon Peters. That certainly leads an assumption that the rest of the absent players were absent because of the coronavirus, either a positive test, or symptoms, or exposure to someone else who had the virus.

The players who worked out at Angel Stadium did so in two groups, allowing for more distancing. The position players who worked out at Angel Stadium included Trout, Anthony Rendon, Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, Albert Pujols, David Fletcher, Tommy La Stella, Brian Goodwin, Jason Castro and Max Stassi.

Among the pitchers were Shohei Ohtani, Griffin Canning and Dylan Bundy.

Any players who weren’t on the field at Angel Stadium could have been working out at Blair Field.

This season figures to be one in which there will be constant checks to see which players remain healthy, even as teams say little about the coronavirus.

In Trout’s case, it figures to be a daily concern at least until after the baby is born. Maddon said he’s discussed the issue with Trout.

“We’ve already had some good conversations,” Maddon said. “We had another good one last night. First kid, becoming a father for the first time is very significant. To do it under these circumstances there are a lot of layers and a lot of concerns for the baby and his wife. He needs to stay well because he is going to be around them. There’s a lot to think about.”

Adding to the complication of playing amid this pandemic is that each individual is responsible not just for himself, but for everyone else.

“I think everybody has to be accountable,” Trout said. “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.”

The MLB health and safety regulations only cover the procedures at the ballpark. It leaves players to police each other when it comes to precautions away from the ballpark.

Trout, for one, has some ideas about behavior on the road.

“I don’t get why you can leave the hotel room on the road to go get dinner at a restaurant,” Trout said. “That’s just putting yourself at risk, I think. I’m strongly against that. It’s 30 games on the road. Just stay in your hotel room and just do as much as you can inside the hotel so you don’t get out and get the virus.”

ALSO

Maddon said the Angels will have workouts for the first five days and then begin playing intrasquad games on Wednesday. The team from Blair Field, mostly consisting of young players, will travel to Angel Stadium to play games. …

One section of seats down the left field line was filled with cutouts of “fans.” It’s unclear what other changes the Angels will have to attempt to approximate a normal atmosphere when games begin, but Maddon said he’d be in favor of some type of crowd noise piped in. “You don’t want everyone to hear everything you are saying all the time,” Maddon said. …

Ohtani threw a bullpen session on Friday. Maddon said he’s been impressed with how Ohtani looks physically. “The guys that have been around him more than I have are really impressed with where he’s at right now, what he looks like, physical shape,” Maddon said.

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