Harper, Trout together again …
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper will play against one another in a regular-season game today for the first time on Monday, the start of a three-game Interleague series between the Angels and Nationals in Washington, D.C. Before first pitch, Trout took part in a press conference to talk about his link to the Nats’ star outfielder. Here’s what he had to say …
Any family here?
Yeah, actually I do. Baltimore’s closer, but this is the most tickets I’ve ever left today (15).
How do you handle the comparisons, be it with Harper or Miguel Cabrera?
It’s not like we really compete against each other. We’re both trying to get hits, obviously. For me, if I try to do too much, that’s when I get in trouble. I’m just trying to win ballgames.
Appreciate interest fans have for this matchup?
Yeah, it’s good. We have some young talent in the league, [Manny] Machado, Harper, me. I can name a bunch of guys. To be a part about it, and playing on the same day in the same city, it’s pretty cool. It’s good for the fans.
Talking to him near the batting cage?
Yeah. It was the first time I’ve seen him in a while. It was just pretty cool to see him. We were just talking about some stuff; talking baseball.
Is it distracting to play close to home?
Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming because you want to see everybody and talk to everybody. But sometimes it’s tough. You have a lot of things to do, and you have to prepare for the game, obviously. But it’s cool when you’re in the outfield and stuff, or you’re on deck and you see some friends you haven’t seen in a while. I think it’s pretty cool.
Is it strange to also be linked to Cabrera?
I’m just trying to have good years, and it just so happened that at the end of my first two we were 1-2 in MVP. Just being linked with him makes me feel good. He’s a great player, obviously. Just being compared with him and other guys, that makes you feel good.
Do you like being compared to Harper ever since you both entered the league?
I kind of figured it. Ever since we were in the Fall League. … People are always going to get compared. It’s pretty cool being compared, not just Harper but the Hall of Fame guys like [Mickey] Mantle, guys like growing up, you watched them play. Guys that I haven’t seen play because I was born in ’91.
Ever catch yourself peeking at Harper’s stats?
Not really. I’m a guy that looks up friends. … All the guys. After the game, go on the MLB app or whatever and check out some highlights when I have a little downtime in the hotel.
What was your relationship like with Harper during the 2011 Arizona Fall League?
There was a lot of hype, but we were terrible. It’s just one of those things. I’m sure if you gave us that team again the year after that, we would’ve done better. There was just a lot of great players coming in from other organizations and playing on one team. … I made a lot of new friends there. It was cool.
What about Harper’s game impresses you?
He plays the game hard. He’s max-effort every time — besides that lack of hustle the other day. That’s the way they have it over there. If you don’t obey the rules, you’re going to pay the price. … I talked to him about it; he [knows] what he did wrong. We’re both trying to have fun and win ballgames.
Do you and Harper keep in touch during the season?
We’re not texting each other saying, ‘Keep your front side open’ or anything like that. If he does something good — like the other day, I shot him a text just messing around like, ‘A couple of guys in the clubhouse are wondering if you got jammed on that ball you hit down the line, the one that went in the third deck.’ Just small talk. Nothing crazy.