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Angels' Mark Trumbo getting a chance to show off

February 26, 2011 | 12:30 pm

With regular first baseman Kendry Morales still a ways from being 100% following the season-ending broken leg he sustained last year, minor-league slugger Mark Trumbo figures to get an extended opportunity to impress the Angels' coaching staff early this spring.

And Manager Mike Scioscia figures the timing couldn't be better.

"If you saw Mark Trumbo four or five years ago and you see where he is now, it’s an impressive progression," Scioscia said of Trumbo, who slugged a minor-league-best 36 homers and drove in 122 runs at Triple A Salt Lake last year. "In every aspect. From the way he runs the bases to his defensive proficiency. And obviously figuring out his batter-box offense to where he’s drivng the ball as well as any young player we’ve had come through our minor league system.

"His challenge is obviously now to make our team and carve out at-bats. And the bottom line is how he handles it."

In Saturday's spring training opener with the Dodgers, Trumbo started at first and batted cleanup in a lineup featuring three of the Angels' top prospects in Trumbo, outfielder Mike Trout and catcher Hank Conger, who was the designated hitter. Veterans Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu were among those given the afternoon off.

"What we really need to do is make sure their legs are where they need to be, their arms, get another couple of days to stretch it out," Scioscia said of the veterans. "These young kids are ready to play now. And it’s really their window to play now because obviously as we get into spring training, their time will dissipate. Our regulars will start to play."

-- Kevin Baxter in Tempe, Ariz.