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Trout starts first full spring scoring more runs

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- For all those that say it's almost impossible for Mike Trout, at 21 years old, to duplicate the historic rookie season he's coming off of, there's this: He'll actually have a normal spring this year.

Few remember that Trout barely even had a Spring Training in 2012. He arrived at camp sick, losing about 10 pounds because of a nasty virus, and even dealt with shoulder tendinitis that limited him to only hitting on the rare days he felt better. He totaled six Cactus League at-bats, prompting him to start the season in Triple-A Salt Lake before earning his promotion on April 28 and setting the world on fire.

"[Manager Mike Scioscia] jokes about it all the time -- it's my first full spring," Trout said after making his 2013 Cactus League debut Monday against the Mariners. "The main thing is staying healthy. That's my main goal this spring: stay healthy and get ready for the year, keep the legs loose."

Trout, starting in left field while Peter Bourjos played center, went 1-for-2 and scored two runs in an eventual 9-8 walk-off loss. He hit a chopper over the third baseman's head in his first plate appearance, popped out to shortstop in his second and drew a walk in his third.

"Timing's still not there, but it's the first game," Trout said. "It'll get better."

And the fact he actually has a spring to get that timing down could be a big key.

"For me, it's all about timing and seeing pitches," said Trout, who's actually approaching this spring about 10 pounds heavier after arriving 10 pounds lighter a year ago. "That's why we did a live pitchers BP during spring. Not even swinging, just getting the foot down, just feeling you got a little rhythm going, and things will start to click."

Expectations are sky high for Trout after a season in which he batted .326 with 30 homers, 49 stolen bases, 129 runs scored and a 10.7 Wins Above Replacement -- the highest for a position player since Barry Bonds in 2002, per baseball-reference.com.

But Trout continues to deflect questions about the pressure to duplicate that production.

"I go out and play, and whatever my numbers are at the end of the year, that's what they are," he said. "That's what I've been doing since I was a kid. I'm not worried about the stats, just trying to do everything I can to help the team win."

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