Mike Trout destroys a golf ball at a driving range

Mike Trout
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I don’t golf. I never golfed as a kid and, when I tried to take up the game in my early 20s — as a budding lawyer I thought I’d need to know how to play to, I dunno, “close deals” or whatever it was I thought lawyers and/or golfers did — I was not very good at all. I pretty quickly dropped it.

I do enjoy going to a driving range once in a while, though. There is something satisfying about striking a ball perfectly, and at a driving range you may accidentally luck into doing that once or twice bucket even if you don’t know what you’re doing. Golfers probably have good words to accurately describe that feeling, but in my experience it’s . . . a lightness? An effortlessness? Like all the weight and effort of your body just disappears into the ball somehow. It’s a very satisfying feeling and I understand, when that happens, the high that serious golfers, who don’t have to do that by accident, seem to be chasing.

I sometimes imagine that that’s also what great hitters feel when they connect with a baseball perfectly. Swing hard and miss and you feel failure. Swing and connect off the handle or the end of the bat and it probably hurts your hands and makes your body feel all off-kilter. But hit it right on the sweet spot and — crack! — it probably feels great.

Mike Trout, who hits baseballs better than any living human being, is one of the handful of guys who knows how both feel, it seems. We knew about the hitting, but last night he and the boys went to a Top Golf and he hit a golf ball approximately 180 m.p.h. and it landed on the moon:

The golfers among you can critique that better than I can — I’m guessing that’s not the most repeatable swing over 18 holes — but it sure is something to see. Even if it wasn’t in an Angels uniform.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”