Angels' Mike Trout is excited about All-Star game despite hectic schedule

SEATTLE — With a five-hour flight to New York on Sunday night, the All-Star game-related media session, workout day and home run derby Monday, the game in Citi Field on Tuesday night and another cross-country flight to Southern California on Thursday, there won't be much "break" in Mike Trout's All-Star break.

But a lack of rest for the 21-year-old outfielder, who has been nursing a sore right hamstring, could be offset by the mental boost he receives from his first All-Star start and second All-Star appearance.

"It's exciting to be there," said Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, the former Dodgers catcher and two-time All-Star. "When you walk out after being part of an All-Star game, you definitely walk a little taller.

"You feel good about your game, that you belong, and you gain some confidence from it. Physically, there are some travel days involved that aren't perfect, but Mike will get Wednesday and Thursday off and be ready to go Friday."

One benefit of the event being in New York is that Trout, who is expected to play left field and bat leadoff for the American League, can make the two-hour drive to his family's home in southern New Jersey after the game and have Wednesday and Thursday to recharge.

"I'm excited, definitely, to be involved in all the festivities, and to start in the game is a big deal for me," Trout said. "Last year was pretty cool. It went by fast. I'm going to try to take in every minute of it and enjoy it."

After a somewhat sluggish April in which he hit .252 with two home runs, 12 runs batted in, 13 runs and four stolen bases through April 29, Trout has been on a tear, his production rivaling his 2012 rookie-of-the-year season.

In 67 games since April 29, Trout is batting .350 (92 for 263) with 13 home runs, 21 doubles, seven triples, 47 runs batted in, 52 runs and 17 stolen bases. His totals at the break: .322, 15 home runs, 29 doubles, eight triples, 59 RBIs, 65 runs, 21 stolen bases.

"I'm swinging at strikes, getting my pitch and hitting it," Trout said. "Early in the year, I was missing my pitches and swinging at some bad pitches."

Rest and recuperation

One player who definitely needs four days off is Albert Pujols, who has been slowed all season by a sore right knee and plantar fasciitis in his left foot and hit .189 (14 for 74) with two home runs — both in Chicago's Wrigley Field last week — and had 10 RBIs in 19 games before the break, his average falling from .265 on June 21 to .249.

"He's maintained it for a while, but it's affecting him more than people realize," Scioscia said of Pujols' injuries. "He'll get some treatment and hopefully come back at a level that's a little higher and that he can maintain."

Short hops

Tommy Hanson (right forearm strain) will start for Class-A Inland Empire on Thursday night with a target of 60 pitches. The right-hander is on track to return to the rotation July 23.

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