- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before Monday night, Mike Trout had never seen Matt Cain's move to first base or timed his delivery. He was running against Buster Posey, one of the best catchers in baseball.
None of it mattered. Trout got on base in his first three at-bats and stole second all three times.
It's another example of what makes Trout, 20, such a special talent. He combines physical gifts with an ability to learn and adjust, even in the course of one game. Trout has attempted 22 stolen bases this season and has been caught just three times.
"He does make a quick study of pitchers," manager Mike Scioscia said. "On the bench, these guys are watching. They're looking for timing and looking for a key. When he's at first base, if he feels good and gets his jump, you've seen it. He beat some pretty good times last night."
Trout, who spent the first three weeks of the season at Triple-A, trails the Chicago Cubs' Tony Campana by just three stolen bases for the major-league lead.
Trout said he noticed that Cain was quicker to the plate early and then had a longer leg kick as the game moved along. Like the player he's often compared to, Rickey Henderson, Trout prefers headfirst slides, which leave a player vulnerable to upper-body injuries. He said he never felt comfortable going feet-first.
"You've just got to play fearless. You can't think about that stuff," Trout said.
Here are lineups for Tuesday night's game, C.J. Wilson opposing fellow lefty Barry Zito:
Gregor Blanco RF
Ryan Theriot 2B
Melky Cabrera LF
Buster Posey DH
Angel Pagan CF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Brandon Belt 1B
Hector Sanchez C
Joaquin Arias SS
Torii Hunter RF
Albert Pujols 1B
Mark Trumbo DH
Howie Kendrick 2B
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Erick Aybar SS
Peter Bourjos CF
John Hester C