Scioscia gets preview of everyday lineup

Scioscia gets preview of everyday lineup

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels played nearly all their regulars for the first time this spring in Monday's 5-3 win over the Padres, offering an initial glimpse at manager Mike Scioscia's preferred starting lineup this season.

Here's the batting order the Angels debuted: Third baseman Yunel Escobar, right fielder Kole Calhoun, center fielder Mike Trout, first baseman Luis Valbuena, designated hitter C.J. Cron, left fielder Cameron Maybin, second baseman Danny Espinosa, catcher Carlos Perez and shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

The lineup did not include slugger Albert Pujols, who is currently on the mend from foot surgery but will bat fourth when healthy. When Pujols returns, the Angels will have to choose whether to start Cron or Valbuena at first. It's also unclear how the club will divide playing time between Martin Maldonado and Perez behind the plate. But aside from those factors, Scioscia showed how the Angels' lineup could potentially be constructed this year.

"I think there's some really good groupings that make sense," Scioscia said. "I think we definitely wanted to see just how we grow with this lineup."

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There will be other some variables for the Angels to consider, specifically whether to try batting Calhoun in the middle of the lineup and slotting Maybin atop the order. Maybin and Calhoun both profile as effective table-setters for Trout and Pujols due to their mix of on-base skills and speed, which could allow the Halos to interchange them in the lineup based on matchups.

Maybin, who was acquired from the Tigers in an offseason trade, mostly hit second for Detroit in 2016 and emerged as a key spark plug for the club, posting a career-high .383 on-base percentage over 94 games.

"I'm hoping to lead the troops," Maybin said last week. "I'm looking forward to hopefully being the spark plug and getting everything going."

Scioscia said he prefers to keep Calhoun's left-handed bat in the No. 2 spot because of his ability to drive the ball out of the park. In addition to logging a .348 on-base percentage in 2016, Calhoun also hit 18 home runs.

"If they challenge him, he can definitely do some damage," Scioscia said.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.