ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Mike Trout has no plans to stop sliding headfirst, even after it caused the first major injury of his baseball career.
�The Los Angeles Angels slugger said Saturday that he won't change his aggressive baserunning style despite tearing a ligament in his left thumb last weekend in Miami, sending the two-time AL MVP to the disabled list for the first time.
�Trout experimented with sliding feet-first during spring training, but felt more comfortable with the approach he has used since he first started playing baseball. He also plans to keep diving to make catches in the outfield, believing he can't play with caution. � � � �
�''I want to be able to go out there and not think about it, just go out there and play,'' Trout said at Angel Stadium during his first public comment since the surgery. ''I play the game hard. I think when you start thinking about risk of injury, that's when you get hurt, so for me I want to go out there and play pain-free. Obviously, it's going to be a little sore here and there, but I can't think about it in the outfield just diving.''
�Trout had surgery for the first time Wednesday. When the cast comes off his left hand and wrist on Monday, Trout will begin rehabilitation from a major injury for the first time.�
�Trout doesn't exactly know what to expect during his projected six-to-eight week recovery from an injury he suffered while stealing a base against the Marlins, but he gave plenty of indications he will approach it with the same relentlessness that has made him one of the best in the game.�
�''I'm curious and I'm ready to go,'' Trout said. ''Just want to get this thing right.'' � � �
�Whether Trout will be right in time to play in the 2017 All-Star Game isn't clear. Trout received the most votes of any American League player in the first round of balloting, but conceded he would have to recover at least one week ahead of the most-optimistic timetable to be available to play in his sixth consecutive All-Star Game on July 9 in Miami.
�''It would be pretty quick to get back, you know, that time, but it will be a goal for sure,'' Trout said.
�Whenever Trout does return to action, he will do so with a protective guard inside his batting glove to prevent a similar injury. Trout used a similar device when he sprained his pinkie finger two years ago, the only previous incident he could recall related to his preference for sliding headfirst. �
�Trout admitted he was nervous and felt ''pretty weird'' before undergoing surgery despite receiving scouting reports from teammate Andrelton Simmons, who had the same procedure last season, and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who has had his thumb operated on twice. Trout also elected to have a stabilizing brace inserted into his thumb, believing it will be the best option for him over the long term.
�''Obviously, Sim had the same thing and he's back to 100 percent,'' Trout said. � � �
�Feeling 100 percent everywhere except in his hand is what Trout is having the most trouble reconciling during his absence, though he attended every home game this week in hopes of seeing Albert Pujols hit his 600th career home run and could travel with the team during their upcoming East Coast trip. �
�''I've never torn anything or broke anything ever,'' Trout said. ''It's just frustrating. You want to be out there, you know, cause the rest of my body feels good. Just my thumb doesn't work.''