Angels Manager Mike Scioscia chats with Joe Torre, MLB's executive… (Kirby Lee / US Presswire )
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia believes baseball can expand the playoffs and avoid November World Series games without reducing the 162-game regular season.
To do so, said Scioscia, who has considerable input on such issues as a member of the game's special committee for on-field matters, baseball needs to condense the regular season by streamlining travel.
As an example, Scioscia cited the team's next trip, dubbed the "Four Corners Trip," in which the Angels go to Seattle, New York, Florida and back to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers. The Angels will travel 6,822 miles and have two days off during the trip.
"I don't know what kindergartner figured that one out, but I think maybe we can move to first grade and get that a little better organized," Scioscia said. "The bottom line is we need to be more efficient with travel."
Scioscia believes the schedule should keep teams in their division for most of April, July and September and that teams can absorb an occasional scheduled doubleheader, like the Angels have in Oakland on July 16.
He also thinks many days off during the postseason can be eliminated, though that would require the cooperation of television, "and sometimes that's a tough gap to bridge," Scioscia said.
If baseball can shorten the regular season and postseason by four or five days each, it could expand the playoffs and finish the World Series by around Oct. 24.
"We can't have baseball played in November," Scioscia said. "I don't think the Pilgrims set it up that way."
Good to go
Dan Haren, scratched from Saturday's start because of lower-back spasms, completed a 30-pitch bullpen session Sunday with no discomfort, and he will start for the Angels Tuesday night against Tampa Bay.
"When it happened, I thought I'd be down for a while because it was pretty painful," said Haren, whose bullpen workout in Kansas City on Wednesday was cut short because of the injury. "But I felt good [Sunday]. I let it fly the last four or five pitches, and there were no restrictions. I passed all the tests."
The durable right-hander has not missed a start since 2005, a span of 214 starts, and because his next game will only be pushed back three days, it will not be considered a "missed start."
After undergoing four days of intense treatment and exercises, Haren is glad to return to the rotation.
"It was a lot of work being hurt," Haren said. "It's a lot easier being healthy."
Angels left fielder Vernon Wells, on the disabled list since May 10 because of a right groin strain, began a rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Inland Empire on Sunday.
Though Wells hadn't played for nearly a month, Scioscia said he may only need two or three games before being activated.
"He needs to see some velocity, to fire the bat, and to make sure he's good getting out of the box," Scioscia said. "You're going to have an adjustment period at the major league level whether you have 40 minor league at-bats or 10.
"The quicker we get that adjustment started in the major leagues, the quicker he'll be productive. What he needs to accomplish can be done in two or three days."