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Mike Scioscia shoots down speculation that baseball will eliminate three divisions

June 14, 2011 |  6:31 pm

Baseball appears headed for realignment, with one team from the National League -- most likely the Arizona Diamondbacks or Houston Astros -- probably headed for the American League, a move that would create two 15-team leagues.

As part of realignment, baseball is expected to expand the playoffs so that five teams from each league instead of four will make the postseason.

But Angels Manager Mike Scioscia shot a considerable hole through speculation that baseball is also considering eliminating the three divisions so that the teams with the best five records in each league will make the playoffs.

"I haven't heard anything about eliminating divisions -- I don't think that works," said Scioscia, who is a member of baseball's special committee for on-field matters. "I think divisional play and the geographical rivalries that come with it are important. More teams have opportunities to get to the playoffs in five-team divisions."

Though the players' union is reportedly exploring the possibility of eliminating divisions, such a drastic measure would probably have gone before the committee Commissioner Bud Selig  created after the 2009 playoffs. "But our committee has not discussed eliminating divisions," Scioscia said adamantly.

The Angels, meanwhile, will go for the 4,000th victory in franchise history tonight when they play the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Andrew Romine, who started three games at shortstop last season, will make his first big league start at third base in place of Maicer Izturis, who has a sore left foot.

The Angels lineup: SS Erick Aybar, RF Torii Hunter, DH Bobby Abreu, LF Vernon Wells, 2B Howie Kendrick, 1B Russell Branyan, C Hank Conger, CF Peter Bourjos, 3B Andrew Romine, P Jered Weaver.

The Mariners lineup: RF Ichiro Suzuki, SS Brendan Ryan, 1B Justin Smoak, 2B Adam Kennedy, DH Jack Cust, C Miguel Olivo, LF Mike Carp, CF Greg Halman, 3B Chone Figgins, P Doug Fister.

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Angels Manager Mike Scioscia. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / U.S. Presswire