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LAA@DET: Trout doubles in a pair for a five-run lead

The 2012 Rookies of the Year will oppose each other for the first time of their blossoming careers Monday when Mike Trout's Angels visit Bryce Harper's Nationals to open a three-game series at Nationals Park.

That's not to say, however, that it'll be the outfielders' first time sharing a field.

Trout and Harper played against each other in the 2012 All-Star Game and also suited up as teammates for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League in '11.

"I think it's pretty cool, some young talents facing each other," Trout said Sunday. "It's not going to be just about us, but it's going to be fun."

Trout said he won't make any adjustments to his game to try to top Harper, whom he has only been able to see play on TV. Meanwhile, Harper, who was pulled from Saturday's game in the seventh inning for what manager Matt Williams called a "lack of hustle," found himself back in the lineup Sunday.

Monday will mark Trout's return to the East Coast, where he grew up in New Jersey. He said it's "cool" to be going back to play the Nationals, whom he watched the nearby Phillies play often.

But when asked whether facing Harper is something he's anticipating more than other games, Trout said, "I just look forward to playing, competing -- doesn't matter who we're playing."

"I think it's great for the game," Williams said. "They are both dynamic players and they both have high ceilings -- as high as they possibly want to go. It's great to talk about them, it's great to anticipate all of that. From their side, I think Trout is going to do everything to beat us and Bryce will be ready. He will be ready to play [Monday]."

Angels: Pitchers prepare for Interleague at-bats
Manager Mike Scioscia was generally protective of his pitchers when it comes to swinging the bat during Spring Training. This spring, Angels pitchers didn't bat at all.

Scioscia knows it's impossible to eliminate all risk of injury when pitchers are swinging the bat and, sometimes, running the bases, using muscles that too often go unused.

"There are some things you can prepare them for to lessen the risk" of injury, Scioscia said Sunday.

Angels pitchers have been hitting for "a couple weeks," according to Scioscia. They've also been running in preparation for the three-game set.

"They don't make turns on the bases, but we get them running. They do run," Scioscia said. "The sliding part, whether a pitcher is in the NL for 10 years or an AL pitcher just going to play, is something you are always concerned with. You have to play baseball. It's part of competing. These guys are athletes. If they stay aggressive, they'll be OK. The head-first slide is obviously something you tell them not to do."

Nationals: Storen picking up where he left off
When Drew Storen returned from a midseason demotion to Triple-A last year, he was a much different pitcher. And in 2014, that change has held.

The Nationals right-hander enters Monday with eight relief appearances. He has thrown seven innings, holding the opposition to one run on two hits, with no walks, nine strikeouts and an .091 batting average.

When Storen was sent down late last July, he had a 5.95 ERA and .295 opponents' average in 42 1/3 innings. In 26 1/3 innings since, he has a 1.37 ERA and a .174 average, with six walks and 24 strikeouts.

"That was big for me to end last year on a good note and get back to pitching like myself and attacking guys," Storen said. "And I've tried to build off that at the start of this year."

Worth noting
• Right-handers Garrett Richards of the Angels and Tanner Roark of the Nationals will get the nod in the series opener.

• The Angels last played the Nationals on June 29, 2011, a week and a half before Trout debuted. Dating back to when the Washington franchise played in Montreal, the Angels lead the all-time series, 8-4.

• Halos reliever Michael Kohn has thrown eight consecutive scoreless outings, spanning 7 2/3 innings.

• Danny Espinosa had a three-hit game for Washington on Sunday, his first since Sept. 24, 2012.

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