Fans see a left-field platoon of light-hitting Alexi Amarista and even lighter-hitting Reggie Willits, and it's no wonder they're clamoring for the Angels to call up their top prospect, double-A outfielder Mike Trout.
But Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday that despite Trout's hot start in Arkansas and the miniscule production of those filling in for the injured Vernon Wells and Howie Kendrick, the Angels will not call up the 19-year-old Trout right now.
"I think that's a huge risk to take with a player with his upside," Scioscia said. "We see the growth in Mike. He's made an incredible amount of progress from last year to now. He's bridging that gap.
"Maybe in a month, this would be a different conversation, but right now, there's some growth he needs to be ready for that challenge of the major leagues."
Trout, ranked the top prospect in all of baseball by ESPN.com and MLB.com last winter, is hitting .308 with a .415 on-base percentage, six home runs, four triples, seven doubles, 17 runs batted in and 28 runs in 39 games at Arkansas.
Also known for his blazing speed and advanced plate discipline, Trout has nine stolen bases in 13 attempts, 24 walks and 29 strikeouts in 143 at-bats. That, however, does not mean he is big league ready.
"He needs to see a variety of pitchers, he needs to get on base and start experimenting with jumps from first," Scioscia said. "There are a lot of things he'll benefit from in the minor leagues that will give him a better chance when he's ready for the big leagues."
Scioscia said the jump from low Class-A ball, where Trout started 2010, to double A is "the toughest in baseball" outside of the jump from triple A to the big leagues. The Angels don't want to overwhelm the youngster.
"He has the ability to use the whole field, he has good power to right field and a good eye, which bodes well for a guy coming up and holding his own," Scioscia said. "But he's not anywhere near the finished product. If we thought he was ready for the major leagues, he would be here. Right now, he's not an option."
Wells, on the disabled list since May 10 because of a right groin strain, began light agility drills and jogging Wednesday and hopes to graduate to more aggressive drills and running by the weekend.
"I think I'm in a good place," Wells said. "I don't want to say I'm ahead of schedule, but it feels good."
Kendrick, who hasn't played since suffering a right hamstring injury last Thursday in Seattle, took some ground balls for the first time Wednesday, but he did not run after running short sprints at about 80% on Tuesday.
Scioscia said Kendrick will attempt to run closer to full speed Thursday, after which the Angels will probably decide whether he will be ready by the weekend or if he should be put on the disabled list.
"He feels much better," Scioscia said. "The big test will be [Thursday] when he pushes it up."
Maicer Izturis was not in the lineup Wednesday night after starting the previous 14 games, but Scioscia said the oft-injured infielder is healthy and will lead off against the A's on Thursday.
"It's just a day off," Scioscia said. "He's holding up well."