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Angels: Trumbo cleared to step up 3B project

Angels' Trumbo cleared to step up work at 3B

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

TEMPE, Ariz. – Mark Trumbo returned from his trip to the doctor Wednesday with a clean bill of health -- and a lot of work to do.

Trumbo had the stress fracture in his right foot re-examined by Dr. Philip Kwong at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles Tuesday. A CT scan taken of the foot showed that the fracture has healed sufficiently for Trumbo to begin running and any other movements needed in his workouts.

"I'm cleared to do anything I need to do," Trumbo said. "That's the news I was hoping for."

Trumbo said he has added custom-fitted orthotics to his cleats to help avoid any recurrence of the problem.

The medical report on his foot means the Angels will now step up the process of trying to make Trumbo a viable option at third base. Trumbo had been limited to fielding ground balls hit straight at him but started moving laterally during Wednesday's workout. At some point soon, coaches Alfredo Griffin and Rob Picciolo will start working with him on charging balls.

"It's good news," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, cautioning that there was "still a progression" Trumbo has to go through in his workouts before he would use him in Cactus League games at third base. It might be two weeks into the spring schedule before Trumbo will see game action at the new position.

"Perfect-case scenario – he would have already had two weeks of working at third base. Aggressively. It's one thing taking ground balls at third base but ... he'll need to get acclimated enough for us to be able to evaluate it at a much higher level. We can begin working toward that.

"He has to get more aggressive running then with drills then into game situations."

Trumbo's workouts at third base to date have been too rudimentary to draw any conclusions about how well he can make the transition. But Griffin gives Trumbo high marks for his work ethic and attitude in taking on the challenge.

"He's going to be fine," Griffin said Wednesday. "It's a big transition, going from first base to third base. It's a different position. But Trum – he's the kind of guy if you tell him he can't do something, he's going to work hard to prove to you he can."

The Angels' expectations for Trumbo's transition to third base remain modest. Scioscia wouldn't put a number on it but a target of 20 to 25 starts at third base is most likely – with 40 to 50 starts there more than they could hope for.

"You could 'spray-chart' a player when there's no action there and play him a lot," Scioscia said, indicating Trumbo's starts at third could come with flyball pitchers like Jered Weaver and Dan Haren on the mound (and not necessarily with a left-hander like C.J. Wilson starting). "It depends on how functional he becomes at the position. I think he'll become very functional from his workouts there to the point where we're not going to be afraid if there's action at third base.

"We're not going to be afraid to put him there. But if you had a guy who was not adequate at a position, you could still play him there if the spray charts showed the probability that there's not enough action there to cause anything."

Trumbo will also see action in the corner outfield spots this spring, adding those positions to first base and DH as spots where he could find playing time this season. Scioscia said Trumbo's nascent versatility could "get his bat in the lineup 100, 120 games – that's going to be a lot of at-bats where he's going to be able to contribute."

It could also represent a mental challenge for a young player. Bouncing among as many as five positions -- combined with the possibility of more down time on the bench than he is used to -- could have a negative effect on his hitting.

"That's a consideration," Scioscia acknowledged. "But I think Mark is very grounded mentally. He's always been able to separate things. When he's come in from a bad inning on defense or a bad play, he's been able to separate and get to the plate.

"I don't see it (being a problem). But, sure, we'll be trying to address that."


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