Scioscia: Trout being more selective with SBs

Angels center fielder has just 10 this season

Scioscia: Trout being more selective with SBs

ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout may have struggled since the start of August, but he's still on pace to improve on almost every statistical category from his 2014 season, when he unanimously won the American League Most Valuable Player Award. That includes batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, homers, strikeouts and walks.

But it doesn't include stolen bases.

The 24-year-old stole 49 bases as a rookie in 2012 and 33 in 2013, then picked up only 16 in 2014 and entered Friday's series opener against the Astros with just 10 in 2015. His attempts have gone from 54 to 40 to 18 to 17, his success rate only 59 percent this year.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia has often said Trout's diminishing attempts have nothing to do with Albert Pujols batting behind him and stated Friday that it also isn't because of the wear and tear that comes with repeatedly stealing bases.

"He's 24 and his motor is full-go anyway," Scioscia said. "Whether he's hitting a triple or he's going first to third, or he's sliding and breaking up a double play, he's going to play baseball."

So why isn't Trout stealing as many bases then?

"He's been on his own, and he's picking his spots," Scioscia said. "As we talked about before, there's nobody in our team that's seeing the 1.15 slide steps like Mike Trout does when he gets on. And I think that's a big part of it. At times, when he has forced it, it hasn't been successful."

That "1.15" Scioscia referenced is the amount of seconds from the time a pitcher makes his first move to the time the baseball hits his catcher's mitt. It's fast. Others have come in at 1.1 and even 1.05 seconds with Trout on first.

Scioscia, whose team has stolen the second-fewest bases in the Major Leagues, said, "There's nobody I've seen here, even Chone Figgins, that has been paid as much attention to."

But all of the burners are closely monitored. And guys like Dee Gordon and Jose Altuve rack up a high amount of stolen bases in spite of that.

Why not Trout?

"I think that component of his game will continue to evolve," Scioscia said. "I definitely think he's more than a 10-stolen-base guy a year. I think he'll eventually see that. And again, I think Mike is as aggressive as the opportunity lets him be aggressive."

Worth noting

• Trout unveiled his new shoe on Friday morning, the Nike Lunar Trout 2. It's the second signature shoe that Nike has made for Trout, who is the only baseball player since Ken Griffey Jr. to have his own Nike shoe. Asked about the pressures of that, Trout said: "I just keep playing my game and respecting it, trying to be the best role model and staying out of trouble. That's all I can do."

• Albert Pujols said his right foot, which has been bothering him for two weeks, is still really sore. He's tried some anti-inflammatories, "but it's not helping," Pujols said. The 35-year-old had held out hope that he could play first base this weekend, but now believes he'll probably have to remain at designated hitter for the rest of the year.

Matt Shoemaker played catch from 120 to 150 feet on Friday and said he hasn't felt any pain in his right forearm, which forced him to be scratched from his start on Monday. Shoemaker hopes to throw this weekend, but Scioscia said he would not start Tuesday, the next time the Angels need a fifth starter. It could be Nick Tropeano, or perhaps a bullpen game.

• Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella is hopeful of taking batting practice on Monday, a significant step in his return from fourth nerve palsy. Giavotella has had the condition, which causes him to see blurry every time he looks downward or to his left, since Aug. 21. He's currently able to take groundballs, hit off a tee and take soft toss.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.