8/18/2013 3:12 A.M. ET
Scioscia supports case for team record in MVP talks
By William Boor / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Once again, talks about the American League Most Valuable Player Award are swirling around Angels star Mike Trout and Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.
Entering Saturday, Trout was hitting .330 with 21 home runs, 78 RBIs and a 1.000 OPS.
Although the 22-year-old's numbers are certainly worthy of keeping him in the MVP discussion, Trout's case will likely suffer because of the Angels' disappointing record, and manager Mike Scioscia has no problem with that line of thinking. In fact, he agrees with it.
"When guys are that close, I think it makes sense to lean on what they contributed to a team," Scioscia said. "Was it a team in a winning environment with the pressure, or was it a team that was out of it where the contributions maybe weren't felt as much?"
Scioscia went on to say that unless a player is "heads and tails above everybody on a statistical analysis," contributing for a contender should be an important factor in award selections and that it has helped the Angels in the past.
The Angels entered Saturday 13 games under .500 and 15 1/2 games back in the AL West. Scioscia added that it's important to focus on the numbers Cabrera has posted through 114 games (.358 average, 38 home runs, 115 RBIs).
"Cabrera is having an incredible year," Scioscia said. "He's earning it, too. If he ends up the frontrunner, it's because he's having an incredible year and his team's winning."
Green settling into big league swing with Angels
ANAHEIM -- The sample size was small -- and it still is -- but after an 0-for-15 start to his career, Grant Green grew tired of people wondering when he was going to collect his first Major League hit.
The infielder knew he could hit, posting batting averages of .316, .318, .291, .296 and .326 in five Minor League seasons.
His MLB.com scouting report reads, "He can swing the bat, with an ability to send line drives to all fields with some extra-base power."
All that was missing were the results to prove it, and ever since Green donned an Angels uniform, the results have been there.
"I'm getting more repetitions here, playing a lot more," said Green, who is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Angels' system.
In Green's first at-bat as an Angel, he collected his first career hit. In his second at-bat, another one.
Green is hitting .433 (13-for-30) since joining the Angels, has hits in seven of his past 10 games and already has notched five multi-hit games.
"I'm just more comfortable," Green said. "I don't feel like I'm in a groove where the ball looks like a beach ball in a sense, but at the same time, I'm getting more ABs and being able to settle into a new organization and being able to settle in to hitting in the big leagues."
Although Green's brief stay in Oakland was frustrating because of the lack of production, the Southern California native knows the experience helped him and was simply part of the process.
"The stint up in Oakland definitely helped because you get to see firsthand what it is like," Green said. "I think if I didn't have that stint and came up here, I probably would have had the nerves that I had when I was in Oakland. I came over here the first day and the nerves weren't there. It was nice."
Richards showing promise to stick in rotation
ANAHEIM -- Garrett Richards' role has changed multiple times throughout the season.
The right-hander has split time between the rotation and the bullpen, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia has said he could ultimately see Richards as either a starter or a closer.
However, Richards' recent performance may be clearing up that forecast.
Richards began his most recent stint in the rotation with four consecutive quality starts -- the fourth was also his first career complete game.
"In Spring Training, Garrett threw the ball better than anybody we had, as a starter," Scioscia said. "This is definitely the most locked in that we've seen him as a starter."
After allowing five runs on 12 hits in six-plus innings Saturday night, Richards is now 2-3 with a 4.34 ERA as a starter this season. Despite Saturday's start not living up to expectations, Scioscia saw some positives from the right-hander.
"I thought he had better stuff than maybe what his line score is going to show," Scioscia said.
The Angels plan to address their pitching staff in the upcoming offseason, and if Richards continues to excel, he may be part of the solution.
"He's getting into a comfort zone as a starter," Scioscia said. "If he continues this trend and continues to understand how to put pitches together and what his stuff is, there's no reason why he is not going to be in the scenario next year to come out and win a job as a starter."
• As part of Flashback Weekend, the Angels wore their 1961-65 throwback uniforms for Saturday night's game.
• Reliever Kevin Jepsen was struck in his right hand by a line drive in the seventh inning of Friday's 8-2 loss to the Astros, but the injury was deemed not serious.
• Howie Kendrick -- on the disabled list with a strained knee -- is progressing, but the Angels are not targeting a specific return date.
"We'll see how it goes through the weekend and where he goes early next week," Scioscia said. "[Kendrick] feels better, but there's not enough improvement for us to say exactly when he will be back or if he'll be back when the DL is over."
• Saturday marked Mike Trout's 300th career game. Trout joins Ted Williams and Wade Boggs as the only players since 1935 to have at least 360 hits and 150 walks in their first 300 games. Trout also joins Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays and Nomar Garciaparra as the only players to collect 15 triples and 55 home runs in their first 300 games.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.