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Mike Trout calls for daily virus testing in return to Angels

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Mike Trout remains skeptical about the wisdom of completing the full baseball season amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the Los Angeles Angels’ three-time AL MVP would like to see the addition of daily testing to the sport’s safety measures.

Trout spoke Tuesday after rejoining the Angels in Seattle following the birth of his first child. He missed four games after his wife, Jessica, gave birth to son Beckham Aaron Trout last Thursday.

The sleep-deprived superstar got on the Angels’ team plane Monday night with excitement and wariness. Trout was already concerned about the chances of playing safely through the pandemic before the shortened season began, and his growing family has only heightened those concerns.

“I think the protocols are good, but it’s just the testing,” Trout said. “I’ve said this since Day One, I think if you don’t have testing every day, it’s going to be tough. You’re always trying to catch up and trying to catch it. You know, if we get tested Friday and we have to wait two days to get the results back, you don’t know what’s going to happen in between. You’ve seen it with the Marlins. You’ve seen it with the Cardinals. It spreads fast.”

Trout praised the Angels organization and his teammates for taking the pandemic seriously, noting their stringent adherence to safety rules so far. But he remains wary, particularly with his newborn son at home with his exhausted wife.

“There’s a lot of things flying through my head,” Trout said. “Obviously, Jessica is worried. With this team, the Angels, we’ve been safe, and I feel safe here. Everybody is being accountable, staying in the hotel room, doing the right thing and making the right choices. Until something happens, I feel I feel like it’s been good so far. It’s definitely scary for baseball, because it only takes one person.”

Trout was in a lighter mood when describing the new parents’ thought process in choosing their baby boy’s name. Beckham is simply a name that both parents liked, while the middle name is in honor of Jessica’s late brother, Aaron Cox.

“We knew the whole time that his middle name was going to be Aaron,” said Trout, who had talked to his wife and son on FaceTime “about 30 times” already Tuesday.

Baseball fans noticed an added benefit to the Trouts’ name choice immediately after its announcement – and so did the parents.

“We kind of looked at each other, like, `Man, his initials are B.A.T.,”‘ Trout said with a laugh. “Just a coincidence.”

Trout rejoined the Angels’ lineup on the same day as the major league debut of Jo Adell, the Angels’ 21-year-old top prospect. Adell will play right field alongside Trout for the foreseeable future with the Angels, who want him to be an everyday player in the majors.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for him because he can just go out and be himself,” Trout said. “There’s no fans in the stadium, so you can just go out there, relax and play (your) game. I talked to him last night, and he’s really excited to be here. I think everybody is looking forward to it.”

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”