Angels' Mike Trout, 19, starts in CF

Updated: July 9, 2011, 2:38 AM ET
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels promoted one of the top prospects in baseball, outfielder Mike Trout, from Double-A Arkansas, and he was in Anaheim in time to play center field and bat ninth in Friday night's game against the Seattle Mariners.

Trout
Trout

Trout went 0-for-3 in his major league debut, but made a spectacular sprinting catch in center field to end Seattle's ninth inning before Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo homered leading off the bottom of the ninth to give the streaking Angels a 4-3 walk-off win.

"I feel good because we got a big win," said Trout. "That catch was definitely a momentum-shifter, I think, and then Trumbo came through for us. It was exciting."

The Angels were in need of a center fielder after Peter Bourjos strained his hamstring legging out a double in Thursday's game against the Mariners.

The team had announced late Thursday that Trout, 19, would be in Anaheim wearing No. 27.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia made it clear before the game that Trout's stay with the Angels will be a short one. He said Bourjos will remain the starting center fielder when he returns from a strained hamstring injury, perhaps as early as late next week. Trout will go back down to the minors, likely to Triple-A Salt Lake, at that time.

Trout had to cancel plans to play in the Futures Game Sunday at Chase Field, site of Tuesday's All-Star Game, since he's no longer a prospect, but instead the youngest player in the major leagues.

"This is a lot better than the Futures Game," Trout said pregame. "I'm going to go out there and try to win every day."

Trout was in bed at his apartment in Little Rock, Ark., when Angels general manager Tony Reagins called to tell him he was coming up to the big leagues.

"I think it'll be a great experience for Mike. He wants to contribute," Scioscia said before the game. "This guy wants to win. He's driven."

Trout is listed as the No. 1 prospect in baseball, according to Keith Law of Scouts Inc. Trout's elite speed, size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), defense and advanced hitting eye have drawn rave reviews from scouts, especially because he is still a teenager.

Scioscia and Reagins met for nearly 30 minutes after Thursday's game, a 5-1 Angels win.

Teams rarely promote players before their 20th birthday, though there have been notable exceptions. Alex Rodriguez was 18 when he debuted with the Mariners in 1994.

Trout was batting .324 with 32 extra-base hits, a .415 on-base percentage and a Texas League-leading 28 stolen bases for Arkansas. He recently played in the Texas League All-Star Game.

Trout, who turns 20 on Aug. 7, was the youngest position player to make his major league debut since Wilson Betemit, who was 15 days younger than Trout when he debuted Sept. 18, 2001.

B.J. Upton was 12 days older than Trout when he came up in 2004, and Jose Reyes was 29 days older in 2003.

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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