Angels send 20-year-old top prospect Mike Trout to minors

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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.

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg’s status for 2023 ‘a mystery’

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Stephen Strasburg‘s status for 2023 is up in the air after a series of injuries that limited him to one start this season, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.

“It’s still a little bit of a mystery,” Rizzo said about the 2019 World Series MVP before the Nationals were scheduled to play a doubleheader at the New York Mets. “I know that he’s working hard strengthening his core and the other parts of his body. We’re just going to have to see. With the type of surgery and rehab that he’s had, it’s unfamiliar to us. It’s unfamiliar to a lot of people. We’re going to have to take it day by day.”

The 34-year-old right-hander has thrown a total of 31 1/3 innings across just eight starts over the past three seasons combined. He had carpal tunnel surgery in 2020, then needed an operation to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021.

After his only start of 2022, he went back on the injured list with a stress reaction of the ribs.

“We’ll have to see where the rehab process takes us later on in the winter,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to monitor him. He’s local, so we’ll see him all the time and we’ll see where he’s at going into spring training mode.”

Strasburg is a three-time All-Star who signed a $245 million contract after helping Washington win a championship in 2019.

He is 113-62 with a 3.24 ERA for his career.

Meeting with reporters toward the end of a rough season – Washington entered with a majors-worst and Nationals-worst record of 55-104 and shipped away the team’s best player, outfielder Juan Soto, at the trade deadline – Rizzo talked about doing “an autopsy of the organization.”

“I look at the season as a disappointment. I’ve always said that you are what your record says you are, and our record says we’re the worst team in the league right now. It’s hard to argue with that,” Rizzo said. “The flip side of that is we’re in a process.”

Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez were given contract extensions during the season. Martinez said his entire coaching staff will return next year.