Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout stepped up to the plate at Globe Life Park on Tuesday, a day after his teammate was found dead in the team’s Texas hotel room.
Trout couldn’t concentrate.
"My first at-bat, I get up there, and all I do is think about him, you know," Trout said after the game, his nose running and voice cracking. "It’s going to be tough these couple days, the rest of our season, the rest of our lives."
The eight-time All-Star was far from the only Los Angeles player to focus less on the Angels’ 9-4 win over the Rangers, and more on the death of 27-year-old starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs. The teams canceled their Monday game that had been scheduled to begin just hours after Skaggs was found unresponsive and declared dead by local police. An autopsy, the results of which a medical examiner told USA TODAY could take until October, followed Tuesday. But the team committed to playing again.
From the moment players walked into the clubhouse, reminders of Skaggs haunted them.
They’d already planned to iron on patches bearing Skaggs' "45" onto their jerseys. The Rangers had spray-painted "45" in red and black on the Globe Life Park pitching mound. But teammates hadn’t expected to find Skaggs' jersey, in the pitcher’s clubhouse locker, waiting for them Tuesday. They decided to bring it out to the field with them.
"We wanted to take him out there with us one more time," said Anthony Heaney, one of two Angels pitchers to carry Skaggs’ jersey out and display it broadly during the moment of silence observed pregame.