Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos steals second base past the tag of Tigers… (Danny Moloshok / Associated…)
SEATTLE — — The Angels have two of the fastest players in baseball at the top of their lineup in Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout. But entering Thursday, Trout had three stolen bases in 20 games — far off last season's pace, when he swiped 49 — and Bourjos hadn't attempted to steal.
The Angels had six stolen bases total, tied for fewest in the American League. Blame opposing pitchers and a lineup that is built for power with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.
"All the pitchers have been really quick to the plate, and you don't want to run into an out with Trout, Pujols, Hamilton and Trumbo hitting behind you," Bourjos said. "You want to be smart about it. You don't want to force the issue."
Bourjos said he has slipped several times when he planned to run. Tuesday, he was picked off first by Texas right-hander Alexi Ogando.
"Eventually it's going to open up and some pitchers will slow down a bit to the plate," Bourjos said. "Then, we can take advantage of those opportunities."
Mike Scioscia's teams are known for their aggressive baserunning, and the manager said the addition of Pujols and Hamilton hasn't changed his philosophy.
"If we have a chance to steal, we're going to stay as aggressive as we can," Scioscia said. "But other teams are doing their utmost to stop these guys, and that's part of the equation."
First things first
Pujols started at first base Thursday for the first time since April 15, but that wasn't an indication the painful plantar fasciitis in his left foot had subsided.
"I feel the same way I've been feeling all year," said Pujols, who has started 12 of 21 games at designated hitter. "It's not feeling that great, but it's playable."
Who's on first is based on how Pujols feels.
"When he feels up to it, we're going to put him at first. If he can contribute defensively, it's good for him and us," Scioscia said. "There are some days he feels better than others."
Pujols doesn't think his defense will suffer by playing so sporadically.
"I'm a Gold Glove first baseman," he said. "When you know how to play the position, there's nothing uncomfortable about it."
Shortstop Erick Aybar (right heel bruise) played five innings of an extended spring-training game in Arizona Thursday but will need at least one more game there before being activated. … Third baseman Alberto Callaspo (right calf tightness) probably won't be ready to play until the team returns home next Thursday. … Right-hander Barry Enright was called up from triple A on Thursday.