DETROIT -- The Angels' top hitters can expect to get a few days off here and there, as Torii Hunter did on Saturday in Detroit. But manager Mike Scioscia would ideally like his best positional players to start between 140-150 games per year. And Scioscia admits that he has to carefully look at where and when players like Hunter, Hideki Matsui, Kendry Morales and Bobby Abreu might sit.
"Those guys need to play a lot," Scioscia said. "We look at where it makes sense in the long run, such as a day game coming off a night game on the road."
The goal is to keep the Angels' regulars strong throughout the year. However, Los Angeles also wants to put the best lineup it can on the field, Scioscia said.
"If you keep taking one guy out here and there, that's less time when you have your best hitters all in there together," Scioscia said. "You want balance and consistency and you want your guys in there that give you the best chance to win."
Another one of those players is Howard Kendrick, who Scioscia moved to second in the batting order Saturday with Hunter sitting out. Kendrick is a player who could have the flexibility to hit almost anywhere in the lineup, Scioscia said, a statement that gives the infielder a tremendous amount of confidence.
"It's good to hear your manager say such good things about you," Kendrick said. "We've talked about ways that I have improved, and to hear [Scioscia] say that I could hit anywhere in the lineup makes me feel a bit more secure.
"I don't have a major preference where I hit in the lineup, whether it is at the top or bottom. I just look every day to see where and if I'm playing."
When regulars do get the day off, there isn't one specific reason, Scioscia said. He and his coaching staff make the decisions on a case-by-case basis.
"It's less about pitching matchups and more about how a guy feels," Scioscia said. "There's no one determining factor."