The Norman Transcript

February 15, 2013

Angels eager for Hamilton, Pujols, Trout combination

By Janie McCauley
The Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — As Josh Hamilton hammed it up with a series of good-natured wisecracks, a serious Albert Pujols sat in silence two seats away, arms crossed.

Mike Trout was in the middle, grinning.

“Hello guy in the booth, what’s your name?” Hamilton asked.

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Do I have time to go to the bathroom?”

The Los Angeles Angels’ new slugger might have the biggest personality of this talented trio. Biggest swing? To be determined, though Pujols and Trout aren’t about to pick against Hamilton in a home run contest.

Hamilton led an entertaining back-and-forth for 30 minutes Thursday at a cactus-lined hotel perched above the team’s spring training site in the Arizona desert.

No joint nickname for these power hitters. Not yet, anyway.

Jered Weaver has no idea how he would pitch to them — and it’s not his problem. For that, he is thankful.

Weaver will get to watch the Angels’ big boppers do their thing each day. And he pities the rest of the American League’s pitching staffs for having to face this slugging crew.

“I don’t have to worry about it, so that’s a plus for me,” Weaver said. “There’s a lot of potent pieces in this puzzle, in this lineup. I feel sorry for opposing pitchers. We’re pretty good 1 through 9. You get to not only the top of the lineup but the middle of the lineup and there are still some guys who can hurt you.”

The Angels will hold their first full-squad workout Friday at Tempe Diablo Stadium with the three stars together at last. Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, received a $125 million, five-year contract in mid-December, a year after Pujols’ $240 million, 10-year deal.

Manager Mike Scioscia insists he’s not getting too excited until everybody is healthy and in the lineup come opening day, which still feels way off.

Scioscia realizes with his roster, there’s no avoiding the constant attention that will be on his club in Orange County considering the high-profile moves and a lineup of stars.

“It’s going to be good to get them in the clubhouse,” the skipper said before the pitchers and catchers worked out Thursday. “I think we’re excited about getting that whole group in here tomorrow and getting started. We know what we need to accomplish in the spring and we’re going to focus on that, and from there we’re going to look toward opening day once we get through spring. And I think that’s when it will hit. Hopefully, you get through spring in one piece and get guys where they need to be and you can watch that lineup play that day and hopefully for a long time from there.”

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