The July 8-10 weekend was full of accomplishments for outfielders Mike Trout and Matt Szczur
Outfielder Mike Trout, a 2009 Millville Senior High School graduate who was promoted to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from Double-A last week, began his Major League Baseball (MLB) career this past weekend.
After starting three games in center field for the Angels, Trout is currently batting .111 (1-9) with two runs scored and one walk.
He has made eight plays in the field and one error, good for a fielding percentage of .889. His error came on Sunday when Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager lined a ball to center field off Angels' pitcher Dan Haren. Trout misplayed the ball, which allowed Seager to get to third base.
In his first game on Friday, Trout went 0-3 against the Seattle Mariners with a fly out to Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, a groundout to shortstop, and a lineout to center field.
Despite his struggles at the plate, Trout did make a phenomenal running catch in the outfield, one that may have been a game saver.
With two outs and a tie ball game in the top of the ninth inning, Trout caught a deep fly ball in right center field, preventing fellow center fielder Franklin Gutierrez from getting at least a double on the hit.
The catch is confirmation of what Philadelphia Phillies associate baseball scout Dan McMaster told Atlantic City Weekly in a recent interview.
"Trout [has the ability to excel] in the show right now with how well he is able to track the ball in the outfield," McMaster said.
On Saturday, Trout got his first MLB hit on a bunt single that resulted in a run.
The 19-year-old then went on to score a run of his own after Angels outfielder Torii Hunter hit a 3-run homer, two batters later. Trout finished the game 1-3 with two runs scored and a walk.
One important fact to note is that the Angels have won all three of their games since Trout's call up.
With the home run derby tonight (8pm, ESPN ) and the MLB All-Star Game tomorrow night (8pm, FOX), Trout and the Angels are scheduled to play their next game on Friday, July 15 at 10:05pm (EST) against another South Jersey native, relief pitcher Andrew Bailey (Paul IV High School in Haddonfield, N.J.), and the Oakland Athletics. __________________________________________________________________________
Although on a lesser scale, another local outfield product, Matt Szczur, has been making some noise in the professional baseball circuit as a member of the Chicago Cubs' farm system.
Szczur, a 2007 Lower Cape May Regional High School graduate, was promoted to the High Single-A Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League on Saturday. He will begin his career with Daytona tonight when the Cubs take on the Charlotte Stone Crabs in a twin bill.
Prior to his promotion, the former 5th round draft choice and 21-year-old was batting .314 (86-274) with 15 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 27 RBIs, 55 runs and 17 stolen bases through 66 games for the Single-A Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League.
He followed up his promotion by playing in the coveted Futures All-Star Game, an annual exhibition between the best major league prospects in the world, which took place last night at the Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field, located in Phoenix, Ariz.
In the showcase, Szczur played centerfield and grounded out to third base in his only at-bat.
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“It freaked me out. I don’t really know exactly what happened next, but I dug down deep and decided that I’m either going to stop baseball and get a job, or I have to do something here. My last few games, I took the ball and threw it as hard as I possibly could.”