MLB: Angels' Mike Trout takes high road on salary, position
Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout figures if he keeps producing like he did during his historic rookie season, he'll be in line for a handsome raise soon enough.
The Angels renewed the contract of the AL Rookie of the Year for $510,000 on Saturday, just $20,000 above the major league minimum, prompting an angry response from Trout's agent.
While Craig Landis said the renewal "falls well short of a 'fair' contract," Trout took the high road before a morning workout at the Angels' spring training complex Sunday, repeatedly insisting that "I'm just happy to be in the lineup."
"I mean, my time will come," Trout said before a team meeting. "I just have to keep putting out numbers and concentrating on one thing, and that's getting to the postseason."
Trout had a base salary of $482,500 last year, when he hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs, and led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals.
Trout has 1 year, 70 days of major league service, which the Angels historically have place more weight upon than performance in renewing contracts. Teams are allowed to renew the contracts of unsigned players on their 40-man rosters from March 2-11.
Landis also made it seem that Trout was unhappy with a move to left field this season, which was designed to allow speedy Peter Bourjos to become the Angels' primary center fielder.
Trout acknowledged Sunday that he prefers center field, the position he's played since the Angels selected him in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft. But he also said that he believes playing in left field will help him to become a more complete outfielder.
"I'm a center fielder, obviously," Trout said. "But you know, when you're an outfielder, you should be able to play all three. I think it's going to help me get reads off the bat. It's going to be a fun adjustment for me."
During batting practice this spring training, Trout has made a habit of spending two days in left field and two days in center, often rotating on a daily basis. He said the idea was to remain sharp in center field while adjusting to left, where he mostly played late in games last season.
"My main position is center field, obviously. It's definitely a different position than left field. But I just have to make an adjustment and go with the move," he said. "I feel fine out there. Just getting into games, getting some experience out there will definitely help me."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Trout still will play center field, and that his versatility his ability to play left is one of the reasons he is so valuable.
"Mike is going to be a center fielder, no doubt. We understand that's what's his position," Scioscia said. "But right now his versatility is something that's going to make us a better team, and he will play some center field this year. He's going to play left field, too."
Weiner says tougher penalties must wait
Baseball players' union head Michael Weiner says toughening penalties for drug violations will have to wait until the 2014 season.
"There are going to be talks. I don't what the result is going to be," he said Sunday after meeting with the Baltimore Orioles as part of his tour of the 30 spring training camps.
The current sanctions have been in place since the 2006 season: 50 games for a first offense, 100 for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig held a news conference Saturday and said he wanted increased penalties as soon as possible.
Around the horn
Cardinals • Manager Mike Matheny has a ruptured disk in his back. Matheny, a major league catcher from 1994-06, is scheduled to have an epidural injection Monday to reduce inflammation and get a particle off a nerve. If the injection doesn't help alleviate pain, he said surgery would "have to be something we would consider."
Yankees • Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki said he had no soreness Sunday, one day after being involved in a traffic accident. Suzuki was on his way home after Saturday's spring training game against Detroit when the accident occurred a few miles from Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Suzuki said his SUV was totaled in the accident. He had a green light when he was hit by another vehicle in an intersection. The driver of the second vehicle was cited by police.
Cubs • Matt Garza will start the season on the disabled list because of an injured muscle in his side that is preventing the right-hander from throwing, and Jeff Samardzija will be the opening-day starter.