A rough spring off the field left the Angels with few options on Friday as Mike Trout, the team's top prospect, was reassigned to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Trout, ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, had only six at-bats for the Angels during Spring Training due to a virus that caused him to lose 15-20 pounds. Ongoing right shoulder tendinitis has also kept the New Jersey native out of the lineup.
"I was expecting it," Trout told MLB.com. "They already told me I wasn't going to the Freeway Series [from Monday to Wednesday], so I figured one of these two days, I was going down. So I'll get my work down there and get back up here."
Trout, a first-round pick in 2009, made his Major League debut last July and posted a .672 OPS in 40 games. The 20-year-old was considered by many as the top prospect in baseball last season and produced as expected with Double-A Arkansas, batting .326 with 11 homers, 38 RBIs and 33 steals in 91 Texas League games.
This spring, Trout went 1-for-6 with a walk and was caught stealing twice. He's reportedly gained about 10 pounds back.
Salt Lake will be Trout's first taste of Triple-A baseball, although he may not be ready for Opening Day. Mike Scioscia said on Friday that Trout is a week to 10 days away from playing the outfield in a game.
"Obviously, your goal is to get to the big leagues," Trout said. "But I guess I'll go to Salt Lake and try to put up some good numbers, win some games and have some fun."
In a related move, the Angels also sent pitcher Brad Mills to Salt Lake. Mills, a lefty acquired from the Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Jeff Mathis, posted a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings this spring.