PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Hours before Mike Trout singled in his first at-bat this spring, the Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder was a big hit with some kids.
Trout and teammates David Carpenter, Michael Kohn and Travis Witherspoon brought $5,000 worth of school supplies and toys Monday morning to Children First Academy, a Tempe charter school for underprivileged and homeless kids.
“After it was all over the kids ran up and gave us a big hug,” the 20-year-old Trout said. “Put a smile on my face and all the teammates that came.
“Doing stuff for the community,” Trout added, “it means a lot to me.”
A few hours later, Trout scored twice for the Angels in a 9-8 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up in the MVP voting last season also walked.
“Felt good out there,” he said. “Felt like I had a couple good at-bats. Still, timing is not there, but it’s the first game. It’ll get better.”
Last spring, a lingering illness and shoulder tendinitis kept Trout off the field and forced him to start the 2012 season in Triple-A. He didn’t stay there long.
Los Angeles called him up in late-April and Trout blossomed into a superstar. He scored a major league-leading 129 runs, hit .306 with 30 home runs, 83 RBIs and 49 stolen bases.
Now, a healthy Trout is looking forward to getting an exhibition schedule to prepare for the regular season.
“Just to get the timing down,” he said. “For me, it’s all about timing, seeing pitches.”
Trout led off the game with a single and scored later in the inning when catcher Hank Conger ripped a three-run home run off Seattle starter Jeremy Bonderman. Conger, competing for a reserve role, added a double and single, going 3 for 3 with five RBIs.
The 30-year-old Bonderman, trying to secure a spot in Seattle’s rotation after missing the past two seasons and undergoing elbow surgery last year, allowed two hits and a walk in his lone inning.
“It wasn’t the way I wanted it go, but it was good to get out there and get my feet wet again,” Bonderman said. “It was good to get the first one out of the way, but it’s no excuse. I have to go out there and get outs.”
Brendan Ryan homered for the Mariners and Justin Smoak doubled and singled. Seattle rallied for seven runs in the final three innings.
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