Scioscia focused on turnaround, not trades

Angels manager feels club is coming together

ANAHEIM -- The Angels enter Friday's game against Oakland in a spot they haven't often been under manager Mike Scioscia -- a season-high 11 games under .500.

They're 16 games out of first place in the American League West going into Friday, their biggest deficit in the month of June since 2001, Scioscia's second season with the Angels.

He's not paying it any mind, however. At least not publicly.

"I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do between now and 7:05 [p.m.]," Scioscia said before Friday's game. "That's what we're focusing on."

The Angels, who had optimistic expectations to open the season, have instead been riddled with injuries. Four players expected to at least compete to be part of the starting rotation -- Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, C.J. Wilson and Tyler Skaggs -- have been shelved. Others, such as catcher Geovany Soto and shortstop Andrelton Simmons, have missed significant time.

Despite the turnover, Scioscia feels his club is starting to come together.

"There's no way you will ever give up on this year. We have more in us with even this group of guys as we start to build. We feel very confident in that. Where we are in the standings is neither here nor there. We still have confidence that we're going to be able to turn this thing around.

"For some stretches during this first half, we've played some really, really good baseball. For other stretches there's been things that have slipped through the cracks that have cost us games. It's that process that's important."

Scioscia is optimistic about his current ballclub, but the pressure is on to see whether the organization will be buyers or sellers at the quickly approaching non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Angels have some intriguing trade chips to interest contenders, notably third baseman Yunel Escobar and reliever Joe Smith. Both have playoff experience and can be free agents after this season.

As far as Scioscia is concerned, however, any moves are out of his hands.

"Our whole field staff will have some input on player evaluations, but as far as moves being made, that's not what we're about," he said.

Worth noting

• Escobar was held out of the starting lineup for Friday's game against the Athletics after tweaking his left knee during a seventh-inning at-bat in Thursday's 5-4 loss. He completed the at-bat, but was replaced by Gregorio Petit to open the eighth. Scioscia said he is day to day.

• Soto, who is recovering from right knee surgery, could begin a Minor League rehab assignment within the next week. Scioscia said Soto has been close for a while, but is still working through some catching drills.

"When you go into some of the more aggressive things you have to do as a catcher and you just had knee surgery, there's certainly some things you have to work through," Scioscia said.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.