Angels' Trout moves to No. 2 in batting order
APR 11, 2013 5:51p ET
Angels manager Mike Scioscia put third baseman Alberto Callaspo in the leadoff spot in tonight’s series finale against the Oakland A’s, followed by Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
The move gives the slumping Angels a powerful heart of the order, one Scioscia hopes will ignite a team that began the night hitting .120 (9 for 75) with runners in scoring position.
Trout went 0-for-4 in Thursday's night 8-1 loss to Oakland.
Trout stole 49 bases last season, but the Angels want to give him more opportunites to hit with runners on base and also protect him in the order with Pujols and Hamilton hitting behind him. Trout began the night hitting .278 and was still looking for his first home run.
“It’s really just a common-sense move,” Scioscia said. “We talked about it in the winter, about Mike being a guy you need to set the table for as well as a guy that’s going to bring a lot of table-setting potential to your lineup. Right now, it’s important for us to connect Mike and Albert and Josh and either Eric (Aybar) or Alberto or somebody in the lineup that can bring a little spark and help set the table for Mike too. Hopefully it’s something that will get us going.”
Trout batted in the leadoff spot all of last season after he was summoned from the minors on April 28. He has hit second in the order once before, in 2011 when he played in 40 games for the Angels as a 19-year-old prospect.
Aybar, who hit second in the order in the Angels’ first seven games, will most likely bat leadoff when he returns from a bruised left heel he suffered Tuesday night against the A’s. Scioscia said Aybar is feeling better and could return to the lineup in the next several days.
Scioscia said the move with Trout was delayed because the team wanted Trout to feel comfortable hitting first rather than adjusting to a new role. Outfielder Torii Hunter was the team’s No. 2 hitter for most of last season but was not re-signed and is now with the Detroit Tigers.
“This is something we didn’t start the season doing because we wanted to see if it was such a comfort zone for Mike and the team that maybe that hole of Torii leaving would just be rolled over,” Scioscia said. “But I think there’s a lot of plusses to having Mike connected to Albert and Josh that we definitely want to see. It’s better sooner rather than to do it a month from now. It was probably something we were moving toward anyway.”
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