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A lesson in multi-tasking from Torii Hunter, Mike Scioscia

Angels outfielder Torii Hunter says checking the out-of-town scoreboard or noticing a drunk fan 'is not a distraction.'

September 22, 2012|By Lance Pugmire

Torii Hunter thought maybe he'd admitted something he wasn't supposed to with Angels Manager Mike Scioscia listening.

Hunter was discussing how he'd cast his eyes behind his post in right field to the out-of-town scoreboard, particularly the scores of American League wild-card leaders Baltimore and Oakland.

The Orioles extended their extra-inning winning streak to 16 Saturday by beating Boston, 9-6, in 12 innings, but Oakland gave the Angels the chance to pull within 2 1/2 games with 10 remaining by losing to the New York Yankees, 10-9, in 14 innings.

"It's OK, Torii. Now we can pay attention," Scioscia said.

Is paying attention to the fluid events detrimental to the task at hand?

"This game has a way of focusing you, whatever is happening elsewhere," Scioscia said. "For me, it's easier" to stay focused on the game being played "with so many different things to concentrate on. We tell players, 'Control what you can control.'"

Hunter said multi-tasking while playing a game is "not a distraction."

"If I have to get a hit, you think I'm thinking of that?" Hunter asked. "I can look into the stands and say, 'Oh, she's hot,' or, 'That guy's drunk,' but my mind's on this game."

Hunter, who took a .305 batting average with 15 homers and 83 runs batted in into Saturday's game, will be a free agent at season's end and has endured off-the-field legal trouble involving his father and son this season.

"We all have stuff that goes on, but you have to focus," Hunter said. "Things outside of here are out of your control from Day One of the season. You just play.

"We want to win every game we have left. All we need is the faith of a mustard seed."

Seattle rotation

C.J. Wilson said he's been told by Scioscia he'll start Wednesday in Seattle, scuttling speculation that the left-hander could be skipped in the rotation following last Wednesday's 22/3 -inning outing in a 6-2 loss to Texas.

Wilson (12-10) and Scioscia had a lengthy closed-door meeting Thursday, and the manager exited saying, "I can't overstate how much we need our starters to do what they're capable of."

It's unclear, too, when Dan Haren will start again after starting Saturday with a day off Monday.

Trophy players

The Angels awarded their Nick Adenhart pitcher of the year award to Sunday starter Jered Weaver (18-4, 2.79 earned run average) and named rookie outfielder Mike Trout (.326, 28 home runs, 78 RBI) their most valuable player.

Short hop

Utility infielder Maicer Izturis showed Friday he was back at full strength after suffering a rib-cage injury earlier this month. Izturis had a single, a sacrifice bunt and a nice defensive play on a ball hit up the middle. He said he welcomes any playing time: "All I want to do is contribute to the lineup."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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