TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' regular position players were all in action Wednesday for the first time this spring, giving manager Mike Scioscia a chance to unveil his potential Opening Day lineup.The batting order for the club's game against the split-squad Indians at Tempe Diablo Stadium was:2B Ian Kinsler
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' regular position players were all in action Wednesday for the first time this spring, giving manager Mike Scioscia a chance to unveil his potential Opening Day lineup.
The batting order for the club's game against the split-squad Indians at Tempe Diablo Stadium was:
2B Ian Kinsler
CF Michael Trout
LF Justin Upton
DH Jose Pujols
RF Kole Calhoun
3B Zack Cozart
1B Luis Valbuena
SS Andrelton Simmons
C Martin Maldonado
The only notable name missing was Shohei Ohtani, who did not play Wednesday after throwing a 34-pitch bullpen session. The Angels could use Ohtani at designated hitter and have Pujols start at first base over Valbuena, but other than that, Wednesday's lineup seems likely to closely resemble what the club will deploy against the A's on March 29 at the Coliseum.
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"I think this lineup has a lot of flexibility, so we can certainly see how the groupings work moving forward and when we get into the season," Scioscia said of his lineup, which took a 2-0 lead into the fourth before the Indians pulled away later for a 15-3 win. "I think this is a great template to work off of. We have to adjust from what we can."
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The Angels' offense underperformed in 2017, finishing 11th in the American League in on-base percentage and last in slugging percentage. The club sought to rectify its deficiencies over the offseason by landing Ohtani, trading for Kinsler and signing Cozart.
With the trio of reinforcements in tow, one of the biggest questions for the Angels became who would occupy the leadoff spot following the departures of Cameron Maybin and Yunel Escobar. Wednesday's lineup suggests that Kinsler is the preferred leadoff option, though the Angels could also slot Calhoun, a lefty bat, at the top of the order to break up their block of right-handed hitters.
Kinsler, who has led off for most of his career, showed his table-setting abilities in his Angels debut on Wednesday, walking twice in two plate appearances and scoring two of the club's three runs. In the first inning, the 35-year-old veteran drew a leadoff walk before stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error by Cleveland catcher Ryan Hanigan. Kinsler then scored on a sacrifice fly from Upton to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.
Kinsler also opened the third with a walk and later came home on an RBI single by Calhoun.
"Those guys got to feed the middle of the order, and Ian had a great day," Scioscia said. "Stole a base, was running well. It's a good start for those guys. They took the wraps off and started to get into their flow a little bit."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
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