Outfielder Mike Trout has gotten off to a fast start playing for the Angels'… (Rob Carr / Getty Images )
Outfielder Mike Trout is hitting .406 for triple-A Salt Lake and had a 14-game hitting streak snapped Thursday, but Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said he doesn't want the 20-year-old prospect's inevitable promotion "to be on a matter of need."
"I want it to be when Mike is ready to take an everyday position on our club," Dipoto said. "Whether that's sooner rather than later, I can't tell you. … He's off to a great start. I think that's what we all expected."
The Angels' slow offensive start has heightened the search for a spark, but the Angels' outfield is crowded with Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Mark Trumbo.
Trout's spring was shortened by a flu-like virus and shoulder tightness, but he's now performing like the phenom who was thought to have a shot at making the opening day roster.
"We know what Mike can deliver," Dipoto said. "When we get to the point where we feel like there's an everyday position for him to impact the club, that's when he'll be here."
A's claim Thompson
Division rival Oakland claimed former Angels' reliever Rich Thompson off waivers Friday. The 27-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment after giving up a go-ahead two-run home run to Minnesota's Justin Morneau in the eighth inning of an April 12 loss.
Southern Californians with AT&T U-verse/Dish Network missed three games of the Angels' series against the Oakland A's, and could miss as many as 22 more, barring the resolution of a dispute with the distributor and Fox Sports West.
The expansion of the Angels' television schedule from 125 to 150 games resulted in extra costs that distributors such as DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Cox Cable paid. AT&T U-verse/Dish Network has not, resulting in the expected outcry from Angels' followers.
The next game subject to blackout is the Angels' April 30 home game against the Minnesota Twins.
Negotiations are in progress.
"We're very hopeful this issue will resolve itself," Angels spokesman Tim Mead said. "All the parties involved want to bring Angels' baseball to the fans."
Major League Baseball and the players' union will stop personal-service deals and milestone bonuses as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Angels right fielder Torii Hunter is among the many players who currently earn perks such as bonus payments for All-Star appointments, and he said he was sorry to see the arrangement end.
"Cash is cash; you'd rather have it than not," Hunter said. "I'd usually put mine in a charity, my churches in Arkansas and Minnesota, Compton Little League, the [Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities] program … Instead of your working money it was a bonus I'd use to help whoever wanted it and needed it."
Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.