Scioscia: Trout could bat third in 2015 …

Angels manager Mike Scioscia, taking his turn in a Winter Meetings press conference on Wednesday, said he’s looking into the possibility of Mike Trout batting third next season, doesn’t expect to have Garrett Richards ready by Opening Day and is comfortable with Gordon Beckham‘s ability to play shortstop. Those were some of the takeaways.

Below is a partial transcript.

On the front office basically being status quo this offseason …

I don’t know if you ever stay status quo. I think off seasons bring different things you’re looking for and different things you can do. And a lot of the players that Jerry has already acquired are going to be in our depth chart and helping us out. I don’t think you’re ever sitting there status quo. And I think when we come out of this we’ll be a better team than when we came into it.

On how he sees the DH spot …

I think there’s a lot of guys that are going to be fighting for at‑bats. And I think our depth will be there. And whether it’s a guy like C.J. Cron or a guy that’s maybe rotated out of the field to get some at‑bats. It will be important to us. We’ll just see how that goes.

On Richards’ timetable …

Well, I don’t think we’re going to see Garrett Opening Day, but I think the prognosis of having him back somewhere in the first month to maybe the first six weeks of the season look very good. And we’ll see. Nothing we can rush or are going to rush. But you have to be ready to absorb some guys that maybe aren’t coming back quite along a framework you might think and go from there. So we’ll be OK. But we’ll get him back in the first month.

On what Josh Hamilton needs to do heading into Spring Training …

There’s no particular message for Josh. Josh, he gets it. He understands it. He wants to achieve. I don’t think there’s anybody that was more disappointed. With his performance last year, a lot of it was because he missed so much time with the thumb injury. He wants to contribute. He understands how important he is to us. And he’ll be ready to go in Spring Training. He’ll be better.

On whether Trout, Albert Pujols and Hamilton will be his 2-3-4 again …

That’s something we’re talking about right now, it depends on maybe how our roster totally rounds out, if there are any other significant changes or pieces added. I think right now if we open the season tomorrow you would see ‑‑ you would see that lineup that you’re talking about with Mike Trout hitting second. Depending on what happens, you might see Mike hitting third. I think the one thing that I think has played itself out is the fact that Mike, as a leadoff hitter, is not quite as productive as Mike hitting second or third. And I think that’s where his future will be.

On if that will be predicated on Hamilton being able to bat cleanup …

It definitely will. Not looking at just Josh. You’re looking at the whole lineup. How David Freese is swinging the bat? Is our lineup going to stay deep with Howie and Erick? Last year you saw Erick Aybar hitting fourth for us one game. That was just flat‑out crazy, wasn’t it? So, you know, I think there’s a lot of ‑‑ I think there’s a lot of things that are going to be affected where Mike hits in the lineup or where Albert hits as far as the depth. If we get a couple of guys that step up like Kole Calhoun did and somebody else, you might see those guys slotted with one and two with Mike hitting third. But we haven’t made any decisions yet.

On Beckham’s ability to play shortstop …

I think Gordon is terrific in three positions: Second, third and short. Probably second is his most natural position. But he absolutely ‑‑ I mean, that was one of the things when Gordon came over and particularly when you have John McDonald playing short and third for us and being able to fill in, to be able to evaluate Gordon, to be able to evaluate him at shortstop. And there’s no doubt that he can play shortstop and play at the Major League level and has the skill set for it. I think Gordon is a terrific player and hopefully we’re still going to get an opportunity to get him back.

On how he perceived getting swept in the playoffs …

We should have played better. But ‑‑ and certainly Kansas City played very well. And you have to ‑‑ they won two extra inning games in our park, they made great plays to do it. I know on a personal level I was extremely disappointed. Our players were very disappointed. But I think there’s also that understanding that Kansas City just made it happen. They made it happen the first two games and Game 3 at their park we just didn’t pitch and those guys beat us up pretty good. I don’t know what lessons specifically from a staff you’re going to learn from that. But I think as a player goes through it and some of the guys that went through it, I think hopefully will prepare them better for the next opportunity and maybe we’ll do more things on the field we need to do to win. But I think after having such an incredible regular season, 98 wins is not easy. Our guys played hard. They played long. A lot of guys got banged up. A lot of guys filled in. And they got us to a level that’s, like I said, it’s not easy to reach, especially when you look at a lot of guys that were banged up. To have the three games in the playoffs, it’s tough.

Alden

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