Angels giving Trout longer look at No. 3 in lineup

Angels giving Trout longer look at No. 3 in lineup

Angels giving Trout longer look at No. 3 in lineup

ARLINGTON -- When Mike Trout recently spoke on the phone with Albert Pujols, the man he's replacing in the No. 3 spot of the Angels' lineup, the veteran slugger had a clear message.

"He basically told me to be yourself -- just because I'm in the three-hole, don't think I need to do everything," Trout said. "Even when he's not here, he's giving me great advice and leading me the right way. He's been a big help."

The small tear in Pujols' left plantar fascia, which could sideline him for the rest of the season, means Trout will get an extended look in the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Trout had never hit third in the Majors before Saturday and recalled starting only a couple of games there in the Minors.

"It's not a big deal to me, though," Trout said. "I hit third in high school."

What Trout has enjoyed this season is getting more opportunities to drive in runs. While batting mostly second, he's had 126 plate appearances with runners in scoring position heading into Tuesday's game. That was one behind Pujols for the team lead and only nine less than he had while batting leadoff in 2012.

For Scioscia, giving Trout more RBI opportunities is the primary objective -- not necessarily having him bat third. At this point, Trout will most likely bat second again next year -- if Pujols is healthy and Josh Hamilton gets right.

"If Albert is in the lineup and Josh is swinging like he can, when you line up Mike, Albert and Josh, you have a pretty good 2-3-4 right there," Scioscia said. "We're going to have to adjust from that, with Albert not being there and we'll have Mike in the three-hole. There's a lot of different places Mike can hit that really makes sense as you look at the couple of guys in front of him and the couple of guys behind him."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.