Texas Rangers

Emotional Mike Trout and Angels players react to death of teammate Tyler Skaggs

The Los Angeles Angels were still reeling from the death of teammate Tyler Skaggs.

Skaggs, 27, was found dead in his Southlake hotel room on Monday. He was scheduled to start Thursday’s series finale at Globe Life Park.

“I lost a teammate, I lost a friend, a brother,” Angels slugger Mike Trout said though tears after the Angels beat the Texas Rangers 9-4 late Tuesday night. “Just got to get through it.”

That’s what Trout and his teammates, many of whom joined him in the Rangers’ press conference room for moral support, tried to do Tuesday. Kole Calhoun homered in the eighth inning and honored Skaggs as he crossed home plate.

“We know we have an angel watching over us now,” Calhoun said. “He was a guy who lit up the room. His energy and positivity and just who he was. It ran deep. When I got to the plate it just felt right to pay some respects to him. Today was just different. There’s no playbook on how you’re supposed to act and react. But getting back to the game is definitely what he would have wanted.”

Before the national anthem for Tuesday’s game, the teams held a moment of silence in his honor. The Angels hung Skaggs’ No. 45 jersey in their dugout, 45 was painted on the back of the pitcher’s mound and Rangers’ veteran Elvis Andrus tipped his helmet to their dugout before his first-inning at-bat.

Teammates, including pitcher Andrew Heaney and outfielder Justin Upton also struggled through tears during the post-game session.

Trout struggled to stay focused during his first at-bat as thoughts of Skaggs kept swirling through his head.

“It was tough playing out there today but Skaggs wouldn’t have wanted us to take another day off,” Trout said. “Every time you saw him he was just picking you up. It’s going to be tough these next couple of days, the rest of the season, the rest of our life. Playing through the game kind of got our minds off of it but it’s bigger than the game. The friendship and the love I had for his family is more than that.”

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.