Angels' players ready to move forward
ANAHEIM -- At a point of significant organizational change, the Angels' players anticipate they'll be able to move forward unchanged.
General manager Jerry Dipoto resigned on Wednesday, following reported tension between him and manager Mike Scioscia. Senior advisor Bill Stoneman was named interim GM for the rest of 2015. But after the Angels' series finale with the Yankees -- a 3-1 loss that snapped a four-game winning streak -- the players in the clubhouse had a common mindset: They can't control the front-office situation, and on their day-to-day level, the change won't trickle down.
"Obviously leading up to it we knew what was gonna happen -- I read, everybody reads, everything comes out," Mike Trout said. "Nothing you can do about it; can't control what happens up top. We've got to worry about playing baseball. I had no decision, I can't influence it or do anything -- I can just go play baseball.
"We've got a great veteran core on this team -- [Albert Pujols], [Jered Weaver], [C.J. Wilson] -- a lot of good guys on the team that can keep us focused, and we're not gonna worry about what's going on up top."
Pujols, Dipoto's marquee signing before the 2012 season, was on the same wavelength.
"It is what it is," the veteran first baseman said. "We just need to stay focused right now and keep doing what we're doing, and that's winning a game and winning a series.
"We have veteran players that understand. We've been going through these challenges since Spring Training. I think there's always challenges every time you're at this level, so you just have to make sure you don't have those outside distractions get in the way of what you need to do and what you want to accomplish."
Wilson, also signed by Dipoto, said he got along well with him but also stressed focusing on the season moving forward.
"He was one of the first people in the organization to reach out and build a bond, because I didn't know Sosh or any of the other guys when I first got over here," Wilson said. "It's obviously a big move for the organization to have something like this happen -- any time you lose a manager, a general manager, a star player, it's a difficult situation.
"But as a player, I don't have control -- they didn't take a straw poll, we didn't get votes, we weren't asked to go stay at grandma's house while mom and dad worked it out -- there's no role for us in this situation, our only role is to play to the best of our abilities.
"It's upsetting to have a schism in the organization like this, but there's no timeout in the schedule. We have one off-day, we have the All-Star break coming up, we have another month until the Trade Deadline -- we're gonna do everything we can to try to win as many games and catch up to Houston."
Wilson said his teammates have come to the same conclusion.
"A lot of the guys have talked about it individually, like, 'What does this mean?'" Wilson said. "There's nothing that can possibly change for us. It's not like all of us are instantly traded or instantly released -- we're all still out there playing for the Angels trying to win for the Angels."
The Angels have been playing and winning lately -- they won each of the three series on their latest homestand to move to 41-38. But their offense continues to be a problem area -- the Angels went 7-for-75 (.093) with runners in scoring position in those nine games -- and Stoneman, who served as Angels GM from 2000-07, wasn't known for making major moves. Still, the players stressed that they have to impact that on the field, not worry about what's done off it.
"We've won three series in a row. We're getting on a winning track, and I think that is what we need to focus on," said closer Huston Street, a third Dipoto signing. "Let other people answer those questions, because the only question we can answer is our performance on the field.
"Let the business of baseball stuff be run by the guys who are in charge of that. We're in charge of playing baseball. … As a team, that's where we have to remain."
And the Angels' skipper is confident that what his players all reiterated will come to pass.
"We're ready to just keep going with the season," Scioscia said. "That's the feeling players have had this week. It's been a tough week for us; tough week for our organization internally. Those guys have managed to play great baseball through it. That's what we're all about."