09/23/12 5:00 PM ET
Bullpen inconsistency has been Angels' weak spot
By Alden Gonzalez and Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Scioscia glad speculation has been put to rest
ANAHEIM -- Angels owner Arte Moreno silenced speculation on Saturday by disclosing in an interview with MLB.com that manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto both would be back next season.Scioscia has a contract that runs through 2018. Dipoto is finishing his first season on the job, and there has been media speculation that the two were not seeing eye to eye. "From my end of it," Scioscia said, "I have a commitment here. I love it here. I have a passion for it. I'm happy Arte feels the same way. We need to keep moving forward, getting better. "There have been a lot of things floating around that weren't accurate. Now we can just concentrate on playing baseball." Moreno had assured Scioscia that there was nothing to rumors that he might not be brought back after the Angels have spent another season chasing Texas -- and also Oakland -- in the American League West after adding Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in an offseason free-agent spree that elevated expectations. "He told me long ago," Scioscia said. "I'm not going to give specifics of our conversations. Some things stalled last year, and we didn't quite get there the year before. We want to be here when this championship comes. "I love it here and want to be part of this. Jerry, John [Carpino, team president] and Arte feel the same way." Scioscia said he hasn't been focused on his situation, that his full attention has been on his team and its effort to reach the postseason. The Angels are 2 1/2 games out of the final AL Wild Card spot with 10 games to play. "A lot of things being portrayed were inaccurate," Scioscia said. "The media can portray things any way you see them. You can portray a conversation as friction or two opinions. "There's not a manager in baseball that doesn't have candid conversations with the general manager. Some people tried to portray my relationship with Jerry as something that's not accurate. "I'm concerned about how my team's playing. I was concerned about not playing to our potential. I was concerned about the starting rotation and bullpen. That's what we focus on. We've been going about our work." Torii Hunter, the clubhouse leader, suggested that Scioscia has been relaxed of late. "He's been having a lot of fun, cracking jokes on the bench," Hunter said. "He's got a contract -- a long contract," Hunter said. "It was a no-brainer [to bring him back]. Why would you fire a guy with seven years left?" LaTroy Hawkins, the 39-year-old reliever playing for his ninth team, doesn't believe the front office or coaching staff should take any blame. "It ain't their fault," he said. "When you come down to it, I wish they would fire players. I've always thought it's weird to have a manager fired because his team didn't do well. It's not like he doesn't have control of his clubhouse. You see guys get fired because he doesn't have control of his clubhouse, it isn't like that. We just picked the wrong time to struggle. It has nothing to do with the staff here, that's for sure. They've given 110 percent -- plus."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced his upcoming rotation after Sunday's 4-1 win over the White Sox. Starting the three-game home series against the Mariners, which begins Tuesday, will be Zack Greinke, C.J. Wilson and Dan Haren, respectively. Jered Weaver is slated for Friday's series opener against the Rangers and Ervin Santana would pitch Saturday, on seven days' rest.
Maicer Izturis played well while starting in place of second baseman Howie Kendrick on Friday, hitting a line-drive single, dropping down a sacrifice bunt and playing solid defense. But Scioscia downplayed the possibility of any platoon forming.
"Alberto [Callaspo] has really picked up his game, Erick [Aybar] has playing at an incredibly high level, and Howie, since the second half, has been very consistent," Scioscia said. "I don't think any of those guys are necessarily platoon players. But Izzy is ready at any time to get a spot start or to come off the bench in a game."
Torii Hunter's son, Torii Hunter Jr., has committed to play football and baseball at Notre Dame, the Angels' veteran outfielder announced via his Twitter account. Hunter Jr., one of the nation's top amateur wide receivers, also had offers from Nebraska and Arizona State.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.