Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers

Shocker: The Angels call up Mike Trout

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Mike Trout doesn’t turn 20 for another month.* But as of today, he’s a major leaguer.

We certainly weren’t expecting that so soon. But with Peter Bourjos suffering from a hamstring injury and the surging Angels merely a game back of the Rangers in a surprisingly competitive AL West, the front office in Anaheim apparently figured it had nothing to lose. Trout got the callup from Double-A late last night and will be available for Friday’s game against the Mariners.

Depending on who you listen to, Trout is either the top prospect or maybe the second best prospect in all of baseball. I don’t do the prospect rankings thing, but it’s hard for me to see him as anything but the best right now. He was hitting .330/.422/.544 in a league full of guys older than him, having smacked nine homers and stolen 28 bases in 36 attempts. He has power, patience, speed and can play defense. There’s nothing not to like.

He has played center almost exclusively in the minors and has some serious range, so I would assume he’ll simply take Bourjos’ place in center for Anaheim too. Although I suppose there’s a chance that Mike Scioscia decides to put Torii Hunter back in center and let Trout play in the corner because sometimes managers do that with youngsters. Back in 1996 Andruw Jones could probably cover all three outfield positions by himself but Bobby Cox put him in right field because, well, I don’t know why.

That’s a minor detail, however. The big deal here is that Angels fans get to see the future. Now.

*We’ve officially entered the era in which every new callup makes me feel like an old fart. I had already graduated high school when Mike Trout was born. Maybe more jarring: Mike Trout was born one month and seventeen days before Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was released. Or, if you prefer, a month and ten days before GnR’s “Use Your Illusion” albums were released. Although the former example makes me feel older.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.