Trumbo's recovery in full swing as camp nears
Slugger ramping up workouts as fracture in right foot heals
ANAHEIM -- Mark Trumbo finally got the news he was looking for. Early last week, a trip to Los Angeles to visit Dr. Phillip Kwong, who has been overseeing his offseason recovery from a stress fracture in his right foot, cleared him to gradually get into all baseball activities.
With less than two weeks before Angels pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Tempe, Ariz., Trumbo has been doing everything short of sprinting on the field -- taking batting practice, running in the pool, throwing and, most importantly, getting some necessary work at third base.
"I'm very happy with the news that I got," said Trumbo, who plans to arrive in Spring Training about a week before he's required to. "Everything feels fine, and I'm able to do everything I hoped I would be able to."
Trumbo originally anticipated a mid-November return to baseball activities when he was diagnosed in late September, but was told to stay off it for an extra month. Then, a CT scan before the new year revealed that the crack in his foot was still present and would need a few more weeks to heal.
"It's hard to get feedback when you don't feel anything," Trumbo said, "but fortunately all the treatments and the various methods that we've used did pay off."
The crack in his foot is still there, but doctors told Trumbo it's very small and stable enough to resume activity. So recently, the Anaheim native has been getting some field work in with the help of bench coach Rob Picciolo and bullpen coach Steve Soliz, in preparation for a season in which the Angels hope he can at least be a part-time option at third base.
As for whether he expects to clear the final hurdle, running on the field, when he reports to the Angels' Spring Training complex?
"It might happen sooner than that," Trumbo said. "You really want to structure things correctly, because we do still have time. This imaginary deadline of having to be ready by the start of Spring Training -- if I am ready and they're comfortable with that, then awesome. But if it takes a couple of week even in the spring, or whenever they feel is necessary, then I'm going to be ready when the time comes, and that's Opening Day."
Coming off a season in which he finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting, Trumbo is suddenly left without a position now that Albert Pujols will be the everyday first baseman.
The Angels haven't spoken to Trumbo about playing the outfield [Coming back from a stress fracture, learning third base, trying to avoid a sophomore slump and trying the corner-outfield spots would probably be too much to take in at once]. They just want him to be an option at the hot corner in order to get his bat in the lineup as much as possible, be it third base, first base or designated hitter.
"I don't know if I have a defensive preference," Trumbo said. "I know first base probably comes easier to me. I've also thought I've done OK in the outfield, too, with the limited reps I've had out there. I've always felt third base is a tougher position and a more challenging one and one that's going to take some time to adjust to. But what you want and reality are two very different things. I'm in a position where I've got to make adjustments. I can't make any demands."
Trumbo and new general manager Jerry Dipoto have planned to meet a few times this offseason, but their schedules haven't allowed them to. Dipoto has had frequent talks with Trumbo's representative, however, with Trumbo saying: "They have a good understanding of what's going on, and my agent's asked a number of tough questions and Jerry's had good answers, and we feel satisfied with everything we've heard."
Trumbo, 26, tried third base shortly upon being drafted in 2004 but couldn't really stick at the position. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, and nursing a tender foot, he believes fielding slow rollers will present the biggest challenge.
"But I've made similar plays in the past [at first base]," Trumbo said. "And I think my arm strength is going to be an asset to me over there, and my throws have been very accurate so far. That's been going very well."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and 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.