Trout debuts at top of Halos' lineup

Trout debuts at top of Halos' lineup

Trout debuts at top of Halos' lineup
CLEVELAND -- Mike Trout's line in the box score won't drop any jaws, but the bottom line pleases his manager.

Trout, the Angels' top prospect and a flashy 20-year-old with a rare blend of speed and power, went 0-for-4 in his season debut during Saturday's 2-1 win against the Indians.

With Trout atop a lineup loaded with seasoned veterans and former All-Stars, the Angels' offense produced just five hits. The win, however, is what counts for a Halos club that has limped to a 7-14 start.

"That's the key is to win games," Trout said. "It doesn't matter if we get two hits, five hits, whatever."

The Angels' slow start comes on the heels of high expectations, established after the club signed first baseman Albert Pujols and pitcher C.J. Wilson over the winter.

Still searching for a spark, the Angels released 38-year-old outfielder Bobby Abreu following Friday's 3-2 loss to the Indians and recalled Trout, who was batting .403 for Triple-A Salt Lake.

Angels mananger Mike Scioscia said Trout -- who hit .220 in 40 games for the Halos last season -- would play just about every day. The skipper liked what he saw from Trout on defense, as the youngster covered plenty of ground in the outfield.

"He's going to play all out," Scioscia said. "When you have Peter [Bourjos] and Mike out there, you can really slice the field up. He showed that today with a couple balls in the outfield. He got to the gap."

Trout's speed on defense could help eliminate hits by opposing batters.

"We don't want anything to drop in the gap," Trout said. "That's where people get hurt. Down the line, it's an automatic double anyway, so we just make sure we're cutting the ball off in the gap. That's huge."

Trout said he was excited, and a bit nervous, to return to big league action.

"It's good to get it over with, getting a fly ball, getting back to things," he said. "I felt comfortable out there. I felt good."

As a fresh face hitting in front of established veterans such as Pujols, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, Trout admitted he feels pressure to perform right away.

"It's a lot to put on a kid to say he's going to be a difference-maker right away," Scioscia said. "But eventually he's going to be a real force."

Trout hit .342 in four Minor League seasons. Scioscia figures the 0-for-4 beside his name in Saturday's box score won't become a routine sight.

"He was excited," Scioscia said. "He'll settle into the offensive part as we get going."