Trumbo seizing opportunity at first
With Morales on DL, young infielder is ready to step in
With first baseman Kendrys Morales slated to start the season on the disabled list, the Angels are expected to turn to hometown product Mark Trumbo at first base. Trumbo, 25, is a right-handed batter who hit 36 homers last year at Triple-A Salt Lake. This spring, he leads the Angels with six home runs and 19 runs batted in, and he recently spoke to MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBLAYERS.com: Leading up to the season opener this week, you have enjoyed a very strong spring. How did you view this Spring Training?
Mark Trumbo: I came in knowing that there would be a good opportunity for me this year. I was happy about that, and I was also prepared. I did everything I could, including going down for a successful Winter Ball stint. That really helped me a lot by giving me a better perspective on things. It allowed me to work on some of the things that I wanted to work on, and when I got here, I was ready to go. I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity.
MLBLAYERS.com: What is it like to play Winter Ball in Venezuela after making your big league debut last September?
Trumbo: It is a very interesting experience. The year before I played Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic, but Venezuela has its own unique personality, and I loved every minute of it. It was awesome.
MLBLAYERS.com: How has the spring evolved for you, knowing injuries always play a role in this game?
Trumbo: With the injury to Kendrys Morales, and how that affects me, I still don't have a total understanding of it. But I know what I see, and I see that they keep putting me in the lineup. That means opportunity, and as long as that keeps happening, I am going to make the most of it.
MLBLAYERS.com: There are a lot of good veteran hitters on this team. As a young guy, do you ask them a lot of questions or do you do more observing than talking?
Trumbo: I do ask them questions. I do pick their brains a lot, especially when I meet someone new or someone I haven't seen a lot of before. I like to bounce some ideas off of them and ask them how they get pitched to.
MLBLAYERS.com: You got your first taste of the big leagues last year with 15 at-bats. It is a relatively small sample size, but what did you take away from that experience heading into the offseason?
Trumbo: It wasn't a sour taste. It was an awesome experience. I was glad to get that first hit on the last day of the season. That was one of the happiest days of my life. Overall, it gave me a better understanding of what goes on up here. I also got to experience what is expected of me here.
MLBLAYERS.com: You are known for your power bat, but what did you bring to this team defensively?
Trumbo: I am trying to bring some versatility. In Winter Ball, the goal was to go there and play in the outfield almost exclusively. That didn't happen, though, as they had some guys slotted in there. I did get to experience a lot of things at first base, and there was an awesome infield instructor down there in Jose Alguacil. He helped me out a ton, and we had a great time.
MLBLAYERS.com: Last year in the Minors you were the co-leader in home runs. Is that an accomplishment you are proud of?
Trumbo: It means a lot to me as it is nice to get recognition for my power, which most people associate with my game. Last year, I enjoyed a good season. It was a season I was very proud of. Some people try and discount the home run because we play in Salt Lake City, but I feel those balls would have gone out in any ballpark minus a couple. Overall, I really feel like I turned a corner, and I was able to come away with a better approach as to how to drive the ball.
MLBLAYERS.com: How do you think a power swing changes from that level to this level?
Trumbo: I don't know if I can quite answer that question yet. I don't have the experience to back it up yet. I feel like if I take the same approach that I have there I am going to be able to compete and to produce.
MLBLAYERS.com: You were born in Anaheim. Who were the Angels you followed the most as a kid?
Trumbo: I was a huge Angels fan growing up, and in 1993 I really started to follow the team closely. That was also Tim Salmon's rookie year, and it has been a joy to get to meet him and to bounce some ideas off of him.
MLBLAYERS.com: What would it mean to you to be in the Opening Day lineup for your hometown team in front of family and friends?
Trumbo: It would be a dream come true. It would be one of the coolest things I could ever experience. With any luck, we will see what happens.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.