TEMPE, Ariz. — Mike Trout has played 55 games at Minute Maid Park in Houston since his rookie season in 2011, but didn’t remember hearing any trash can banging when he met with the media on Monday morning.
He recalled hearing something of more significance.
“I noticed the banging on the bat,” Trout said. “It just feels like they weren’t missing pitches.”
Trout, the Los Angeles Angels star center fielder who is widely considered the face of baseball, joined the long list of established major league players taking pointed shots at the Houston Astros, who have been tainted by the cheating scandal that might have helped them secure the 2017 World Series championship.
Trout’s Angels weren’t impacted by the Astros’ sign-stealing methods during the postseason, but as a division rival that plays them nearly 20 times each season, they might have been among those most affected.
“It’s sad for baseball,” Trout said. “It’s tough. They cheated. I don’t agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys’ careers have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming — it would be pretty fun up there.”
Trout, a three-time American League MVP at the age of 28, wouldn’t venture a guess as to what his batting average would look like if he knew which pitch was coming. “But it would be fun,” he repeated. Trout said a few members of the Astros reached out personally to explain what happened, but it didn’t sound as if that was good enough.
“I lost some respect for some guys,” Trout said. “… All the stuff coming out, it’s tough to see.”
Anthony Rendon also reported to his new team Monday, but the Angels’ new $245 million third baseman was more circumspect in his thoughts on the Astros, his hometown team. Rendon’s Washington Nationals beat Houston in the World Series last year.
“Even when I watched their games over the previous years, it was suspicious,” Rendon said. “It looked weird. They were (sitting) on balls that were very tough pitches, and just the way that they were playing the game. They’re all talented players. I love those guys over there, especially what they’ve done in my city of Houston to help us out. But it definitely raises a lot of question marks, watching those games.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.