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Trout meets kindred spirit in Kaline

Trout meets kindred spirit in Kaline

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Trout meets kindred spirit in Kaline
DETROIT -- Can Mike Trout win a batting title at age 20?

At this point, it almost seems likely.

Trout came into Tuesday's game against the Tigers with an American League-leading .348 batting average. The second-place guy, Twins catcher Joe Mauer, was hitting .328. If Trout holds on to that sizable lead for the next two and a half months of the regular season, he'll become just the third player in modern history to win a batting title during his age-20 season.

You might have heard of the other two: Hall of Famers Al Kaline and Ty Cobb.

"I don't really think about that stuff," Trout said of his chances of finishing with the top batting average in the AL. "Just go out there and try to do whatever I can to help the team win. If at the end of the year I win the batting title, it's definitely an awesome accomplishment.

"It's definitely an individual goal, but it's still a long year. So I just have to play hard every day."

Trout got similar advice from Kaline himself, who's a regular at Comerica Park, has become a big fan of Trout and finally had a chance to meet him after batting practice on Monday.

"I met him in the hallway," Trout recalled. [Manager Mike] Scioscia said, 'I want you to meet somebody.' I knew of him. My mom lived in Michigan and was a big fan of his growing up. It was pretty neat to meet him."

In 1955, Kaline won the batting title with a .340 batting average -- though he was at a .368 clip by July 17 -- and also finished second in AL Most Valuable Player voting, adding 27 homers and 102 RBIs as the Tigers' right fielder.

Forget Rookie of the Year. Trout looks like a favorite for the AL MVP Award right now -- and he gave everyone a one-month head start. Heading into Tuesday, he led the AL in stolen bases (30), ranked fourth in OPS (.972), was fifth in runs (61) and paced the Junior Circuit in Wins Above Replacement (5.0).

Then he went 4-for-6 in the Angels' 13-0 win over the Tigers, with three singles and a two-run homer to right-center field that traveled 442 feet, according to ESPN.

It's no wonder Kaline is impressed.

"He's a strong guy, runs really well, power -- he reminds me a little bit of a [Mickey] Mantle," Kaline told the Detroit Free Press for a recent article. "You don't see the combination of power and speed that he has."

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