05/17/12 9:20 PM ET
Trout providing Halos with on-base threat
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
The skipper's response: "Experience will pull it in."
Scioscia isn't about to mess with the aggressiveness of Trout, who has mostly provided the Angels with the spark plug they sorely lacked at the top of the order before his April 28 callup.
The positives are a lot greater than the negatives, really.
The 20-year-old Trout finshed Thursday's game against the White Sox with a .333 average, .370 on-base percentage and .531 slugging percentage through 17 games, and he may be trending upward. Despite going 0-for-4 in a 6-1 loss on Thursday, he was batting .307 (20-for-65) since finishing his first two contests 0-for-7. Trout has five multihit games over his last nine -- going 12-for-31 in that span.
It's only 17 games, but Trout has evidently taken major steps since 2011, a season that saw him bat .220 in a 40-game stretch in the Majors.
"I definitely feel more comfortable, playing every day and getting my chance to go out there and have some fun," Trout said. "That's the big thing, going out there and having fun, not trying to do too much, just getting on base. ... My confidence is going up a little bit, just putting good swings on balls and getting my pitch. And I'm not scared to hit with two strikes."
That points to what's perhaps the most impressive part of Trout's game -- that he's been uncommonly good when hitting behind in counts, especially for someone his age.
The Angels, ranked 26th in the Majors in on-base percentage at the start of the day, need that kind of plate discipline in the lineup.
You just wouldn't expect it to come from the 20-year-old rookie.
"That's when I go into battle mode, with two strikes," said Trout, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 3 prospect in baseball heading into the year.
"That's part of his game," Scioscia added. "He works deep counts well. He sees a lot of pitches, and that's why his on-base has always been so high in the Minor Leagues. And he's getting more comfortable in the box now."
Callaspo, Izturis form effective duo in second spot
ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia was among the many who originally felt Howie Kendrick would thrive as a No. 2 hitter, where he'd reap the benefits of batting in front of Albert Pujols.
But Kendrick simply isn't comfortable there.
Last year, Kendrick hit .275 in 43 games while batting second and .321 in 67 games while batting fifth and sixth. And since he was moved down in the order on April 30, the free-swinging Kendrick has picked it up, while the Angels have found better options in front of Pujols, with the slap-hitting Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo.
Izturis and Callaspo, who have formed a relative platoon between Mike Trout and Pujols, were hitting a combined .312 from the 2-hole heading into Thursday's game, though Izturis went 0-for-4 from that spot in a 6-1 loss.
"You have to adjust," Scioscia said. "I think that if you look at where the pieces fit, and what was slowing our team down, we were sitting on a .295 on-base percentage for a long time, under .300. We nosed over the on-base percentage Mendoza Line, I guess that's what you can call it, and we're going to hopefully continue to move north from there. I think it's just putting players in a comfort level."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.