TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout wants to be more aggressive early in counts. If you think you've heard this before, you're probably right.
Trout has talked previously about his desire to take advantage of pitchers' early mistakes and not fall into too many two-strike counts, which tend to lend themselves to a high strikeout total. In his first Cactus League at-bat on Thursday, he swung at a first-pitch fastball from Brewers veteran Kyle Lohse and skied it to right-center field, a towering fly ball that was knocked down by the wind.
And it wasn't really a coincidence.
"I'm looking to drive the ball a little bit," Trout said after going 1-for-2 with an RBI infield single in his spring debut. "The biggest thing about cutting down on the strikeouts is getting a pitch early in the zone to drive. I'm going to work on that this spring. Throughout my whole career, I've been taking. I like to see pitches, but I'm going to get locked and loaded first pitch. If it's in the zone, I'm going to take a hack at it."
Trout struck out an American League-leading 184 times last year, the most ever by a Most Valuable Player Award winner. During that 2014 season, he ranked eighth in the Majors in plate appearances (705), but he put the first pitch in play only 27 times. On 401 occurrences, Trout had a two-strike count, second only to Matt Carpenter for the Major League lead.
But Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't necessarily believe Trout needs a change in approach. He's had an incredible amount of success regardless.
"I think Mike Trout is going to do what he does best," Scioscia said. "If it's a situation where he needs to work a count, he's going to work a count. If he's on a pitcher and he's going to jump on a first pitch, he will. I don't think Mike's going to change too many things."