Halos hurlers won't spend much time on hitting

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels know their pitchers will have to hit at some point this season, but they'd prefer they do it as seldom as possible. Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday that his team will request a designated hitter for its road game against the Padres on Thursday.

Scioscia wasn't certain whether San Diego would approve that request, and he said his pitchers will begin working on hitting and bunting soon this spring. But when it comes to the regular season, Scioscia said that his pitchers won't spend all that much time preparing to hit and bunt.

Now, with the new schedule in place, Interleague Play won't come in one convenient block. The Angels even open up their regular season on the road against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. But still, Scioscia said that too much preparation for pitchers hitting could have an adverse effect.

"We don't need to do it all year," the manager said. "I think that it's one less thing a pitcher needs to recover from a game, to worry about going and swinging a bat. We'll make sure they get enough of it, but we have the luxury when it's few and far between to let these guys just get their own rebound from their starts."

Scioscia said that his starters and some long relievers will work on hitting and bunting, but they'll do it strategically during the season. The pitchers will work on hitting when there's a realistic chance that they'll need to do it, and Scoscia wants to make sure they don't overexert themselves.

"Sometimes the preparation for something is worse than actually doing it," he said. "You don't want to overdo it with pitchers getting stiff in their torso, worrying about obliques and having them overdo hitting, but there's a certain amount you need just for safety precautions. You don't want a guy taking a swing when he hasn't done it in a year. All of a sudden he's starting to pop muscles he shouldn't be popping."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.