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FIELDING Trout covers so much ground and makes so many jaw-dropping, home run-saving catches, it only seems natural that he’s back in centerfield full time for the Angels. Aybar is a steady presence at shortstop, while Kendrick has gradually shed the all-hit, no-glove reputation. He had a .982 fielding percentage in 2013. Pujols is counting on a return to health helping his defense at first, where he is a two-time Gold Glove winner. STARTING PITCHING Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson are a formidable 1-2 punch at the front of the rotation. Despite diminishing fastball velocity, Weaver is still an artist on the mound, finishing with an 11-8 record and 3.27 ERA in an injury-shortened 2013. Wilson was one of the best starters in the AL, going 17-7 with a 3.39 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 212.1 innings. Fireballer Garrett Richards had several outstanding outings in the last couple months of the season, and the Angels are hoping for good things from lefties Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. RELIEF PITCHING The bullpen let down the Angels, and was one of the main reasons they finished below .500 last year. With 37 saves in 41 opportunities and 98 strikeouts in 68.2 innings last year, Ernesto Frieri seems to fit the part of a dominant closer. But his 3.80 ERA and 11 home runs allowed are too high. He’s added a change-up that he hopes will be a good complement to his power stuff. Joe Smith came over in free agency after three straight solid seasons in Cleveland. Sean Burnett is still getting healthy after pitching in just 13 games in 2013. MANAGING Entering his 15th season with the Angels, Mike Scioscia is the longest-tenured manager in baseball. Last year was the first time the media began fanning the flame on a possible hot seat, but he remains at the helm in spite of his teamt missing the playoffs four consecutive seasons. Owner Arte Moreno brought back Scioscia and GM Jerry DiPoto, who has overseen offseasons with big free agent splashes that didn’t amount to October baseball. This past offseason he showed more restraint, with no big free agent signings and a trade of Mark Trumbo for Skaggs to shore up the rotation. Mike Trout STEPHEN DUNN/GETTY IMAGES SPORT


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