After start, Skaggs officially notified he's in rotation
Close friend Trout helps him out with homer in spring finale against Dodgers
ANAHEIM -- Tyler Skaggs, a former Angels first-round Draft pick who made his first start at Angel Stadium in the Freeway Series finale, has spent a lot of time in the Minor Leagues with Mike Trout.
And when Trout homered in the second inning of Saturday's eventual 6-2 win -- in front of a sold-out crowd, hours after taking part in a press conference to celebrate his six-year, $144.5 million extension -- Skaggs was not the least bit surprised.
"I mean, the kid is unbelievable," Skaggs said of a guy who's nonetheless the same age. "I can go on and on. I glow when I talk about him because he's almost family to me. We've been together for a long time. I know his family, he knows my family. It couldn't have happened to a better kid. I'm very, very happy for him. If anybody in the Major Leagues deserves to get a huge contract, I feel like it's that guy. And it's fitting that he hits a home run."
The Dodgers, who re-open their season in San Diego on Sunday night, finished with a Spring Training record of 7-12-5. The Angels, who host the Mariners on Monday night, went 19-11-2.
Skaggs threw 97 pitches and lasted 3 2/3 innings before exiting, but he gave up only two runs on a double by Chone Figgins. He frequently sat in the mid-90s with his fastball and was told by pitching coach Mike Butcher that he cracked the rotation upon exiting, even though that has been obvious for quite some time.
Albert Pujols and David Freese hit RBI doubles in the first and the Angels tacked on four runs in the second, getting a three-run homer from Kole Calhoun and a solo shot from Trout to build an early 6-0 lead against ex-teammate Dan Haren, who struggled with his cutter and recorded only six outs.
Trout, the newly minted multi-millionaire, singled to left in the first, hit his sixth home run of the spring in the second, was robbed of a single on a diving catch by second baseman Brendan Harris in the fifth and struck out swinging in the seventh, finishing Spring Training with a .414 batting average.
"He's the best player in the game, by far," Skaggs said. "I mean there's no comparison to anybody."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.