Mike Trout played 40 games in the majors last season, but with the Angels’ first base/corner outfield/designated hitter logjam already causing them to shop Bobby Abreu and move Mark Trumbo to third base there was no room for him in the lineup.
Today the team made official what has been expected all spring, optioning Trout to Triple-A.
Trout is universally regarded as one of the top three prospects in baseball along with Bryce Harper and Matt Moore, but while he’s probably one of the Angels’ nine best players already he’s also just 20 years old with zero experience at Triple-A and has been hurt/sick for much of camp.
Letting him knock around Pacific Coast League pitching for six weeks while the Angels sort out their roster isn’t the worst idea even if you think Trout is ready to thrive in the majors at 20. He’ll be called up for good soon enough and when that happens they’ll want to play him every day without worrying about playing time for the logjam of veteran bats.
Last season at Double-A he hit .326 with 11 homers, 33 steals, and a .958 OPS in 91 games, but Trout hit just .220 with five homers, four steals, and a .672 OPS in 40 games for the Angels.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.