04/28/12 8:11 PM ET
Scioscia still searching for best lineup
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
Including Saturday, Scioscia has penciled in 18 different lineups in the Angels' first 21 games. At 7-14, the club is still searching for the right combination of hitters in a scuffling offense. The Halos, who have scored just nine runs during their five-game losing streak, have an abundance of capable veterans to fit into nine positions.
"We're trying to find that combination now," Scioscia said. "I think there are some guys that we definitely want to get some more at-bats and some guys that we definitely need to get in their game and be out there to work through some rough edges, so they are productive eventually. That's where we're trying to find that balance."
Mark Trumbo has moved all over the lineup, playing first base, third base, left field, right field and designated hitter.
The only constant in Los Angeles' order has been first baseman Albert Pujols in the No. 3 hole. The nine-time All-Star has yet to get in a groove at the plate, batting just .226 with no home runs. Scioscia has considered moving Pujols to the cleanup spot.
"It's not one simple solution," Scioscia said, "He has to find a way to find his comfort level in the box, to where he's seeing the ball and squaring it up. He's clearly not in sync, but he will be."
Trout debuts at top of Halos' lineup
CLEVELAND -- Mike Trout's line in the box score won't drop any jaws, but the bottom line pleases his manager.
Trout, the Angels' top prospect and a flashy 20-year-old with a rare blend of speed and power, went 0-for-4 in his season debut during Saturday's 2-1 win against the Indians.
With Trout atop a lineup loaded with seasoned veterans and former All-Stars, the Angels' offense produced just five hits. The win, however, is what counts for a Halos club that has limped to a 7-14 start.
"That's the key is to win games," Trout said. "It doesn't matter if we get two hits, five hits, whatever."
The Angels' slow start comes on the heels of high expectations, established after the club signed first baseman Albert Pujols and pitcher C.J. Wilson over the winter.
Still searching for a spark, the Angels released 38-year-old outfielder Bobby Abreu following Friday's 3-2 loss to the Indians and recalled Trout, who was batting .403 for Triple-A Salt Lake.
Angels mananger Mike Scioscia said Trout -- who hit .220 in 40 games for the Halos last season -- would play just about every day. The skipper liked what he saw from Trout on defense, as the youngster covered plenty of ground in the outfield.
"He's going to play all out," Scioscia said. "When you have Peter [Bourjos] and Mike out there, you can really slice the field up. He showed that today with a couple balls in the outfield. He got to the gap."
Trout's speed on defense could help eliminate hits by opposing batters.
"We don't want anything to drop in the gap," Trout said. "That's where people get hurt. Down the line, it's an automatic double anyway, so we just make sure we're cutting the ball off in the gap. That's huge."
Trout said he was excited, and a bit nervous, to return to big league action.
"It's good to get it over with, getting a fly ball, getting back to things," he said. "I felt comfortable out there. I felt good."
As a fresh face hitting in front of established veterans such as Pujols, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, Trout admitted he feels pressure to perform right away.
"It's a lot to put on a kid to say he's going to be a difference-maker right away," Scioscia said. "But eventually he's going to be a real force."
Trout hit .342 in four Minor League seasons. Scioscia figures the 0-for-4 beside his name in Saturday's box score won't become a routine sight.
"He was excited," Scioscia said. "He'll settle into the offensive part as we get going."
Angels working through bullpen struggles
CLEVELAND -- The Angels' bullpen struggles have reached a crescendo, but the club has stressed that improvements must come from within the organization.
"These are the guys that we broke Spring Training with," said general manager Jerry Dipoto. "They're the guys that we trust to do the job. We're going to have to dig down within and find a way to get it done."
Angels relievers are 0-6 with a 5.29 ERA and have converted just two saves in eight chances. The group has allowed 72 baserunners in 48 2/3 innings.
Dipoto said it's too early to seek help externally.
"There aren't a lot of alternatives right now," Dipoto said. "Sometimes you have to turn yourself inside-out to figure out how to do it. There's some good history down there. There's some good arms down there. There's guys with particularly big stuff. You can't flip out the entire team when you're struggling. You just have to get better.
The Angels are 6-9 when Chris Iannetta starts at catcher and 1-5 when Bobby Wilson starts behind the plate.
Pujols' 20-game homerless streak is the longest drought to start a season in his career.