Tempe, Ariz. — Torii Hunter is 36 and entering the final year of a five-year, $90-million contract, and with cheaper, younger and talented players (Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo) capable of pushing their way into the Angels outfield next season, there is a chance the team's right fielder and most popular player won't be back in 2013.
But that clearly is not a subject Mike Scioscia wants to discuss right now. In fact, the Angels manager got a little testy Thursday morning with a reporter who prefaced a question about Hunter by saying this could be the manager's last spring with the nine-time Gold Glove Award winner.
"I'm not going to get into last springs, first springs, whatever," Scioscia said. "Torii is a unique player. Not only is he talented physically, but he's very mentally strong. His presence in that clubhouse is felt.
"I am not going to refer to this being his last year. I'm not doing that. I'm not sitting here reflecting on, is this Torii's last year? No. That's not ever crossed my mind. And I hope he stays here."