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Angels' Mike Scioscia shows off tactical skills

Manager makes a quadruple switch in the 11th inning of the team's 3-1, 13-inning victory at Cincinnati, something that is rarely seen in the American League.

April 01, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times

CINCINNATI — Mike Scioscia has managed enough games in National League ballparks to have pulled off dozens of double switches and even a few triple switches, but this was the first time the Angels skipper could remember a quadruple shift.

It came in the 11th inning of the Angels' 3-1, 13-inning, season-opening win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday, a game in which Scioscia exhausted his bench and used six of his seven relievers.

First baseman and No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols, who is recovering from knee surgery and has been slowed by a sore left foot, led off the 11th inning with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Andrew Romine.

The move seemed odd at the time because speedy outfielder Peter Bourjos was available and would probably replace outfielder Mark Trumbo in the field in the bottom of the 11th. Why burn Romine in that situation?

Scioscia was thinking another inning ahead. He knew he would need reliever Mark Lowe, who entered in the bottom of the 11th, to pitch two innings, and he didn't want Lowe to bat.

So when Alberto Callaspo flied out to end the 11th, Scioscia inserted Lowe in Callaspo's seventh spot and moved Romine to third base. Trumbo moved from left field to first base, Mike Trout moved from center field to left and Bourjos went to center and into the ninth hole. So, it might have actually been a quintuple shift.

"If I had more players on the bench, I might have made more moves," Scioscia said. "The scenarios were developing pitch by pitch. … We were running out of players."

Short hops

Trout's weight, a big concern for many entering camp, is fluctuating between 230 and 234 pounds, he said, meaning he has essentially dropped the 10 pounds he planned to lose after reporting at 241 in February. … Ryan Madson has been feeling some tightness, which he described as "normal soreness," in his surgically repaired elbow and hasn't thrown off a mound since his last bullpen session in Arizona. The right-hander hopes to throw again "in the next couple of days," he said. … Veteran catcher Chris Snyder informed General Manager Jerry Dipoto he will not exercise an opt-out clause in his minor league contract to become a free agent. Snyder will share catching duties at triple-A Salt Lake with John Hester and Luke Carlin.

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