Mike Scioscia: Expectations are Still the Same After Josh Hamilton Signing, but the Focus Should be on Starting Rotation

December 18, 2012 – 9:15 am by Steven Cuce

In the battle for offseason headlines in Los Angeles, the Angels sure made their presence felt last week. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made the big splash last Thursday when they outbid all of baseball for Josh Hamilton, signing the outfielder to a five-year deal worth $125 million. The Angels now sit with a lineup full of offensive power between Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Hamilton.

Mike Scioscia isn’t going to let expectations worry him this season. The Angels manager knows what is expected of his team, and Scioscia talks about his concerns with the Angels in the following interview.

Mike Scioscia joined FOX Sports Radio with Petros and Money to discuss the expectations for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after signing Josh Hamilton, where the Angels pitching staff stands right now, who is hitting third or fourth between Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols, Hamilton fitting into the Angels’ clubhouse and managing Hamilton’s support group.

What are the expectations for the Angels with Josh Hamilton now?

“Well, I don’t think the expectations change for the organization. We’re expected to win it from day one and we know we have been given a terrific team this year, but there’s a lot of work to do. I think there will be a lot of focus on the offensive end. … Albert Pujols comes in last year and Josh comes in this year, but the real heartbeat of our club is our starting rotation, and we need to get that thing as solid as we can to give ourselves a chance to win and hold leads at the end with our bullpen and hopefully do a little better job of that and finish higher than we did last year.”

Where does the Angels pitching staff stand right now? How do you feel about it?

“I feel good about a lot of things in our rotation. I think as your season progresses some things are going to change, but when we are starting off with Jered Weaver, obviously a legitimate No. 1 at the top. And C.J. Wilson — he made the All-Star team last year and maybe he didn’t finish as strong as he wanted to. This is a guy who can put up some big numbers for you as far as wins. With Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton, these are guys who are proven veterans that are going to go out there and keep you in games because they know how to pitch. They compete pretty great and the fifth spot, guys like Jerome Williams or Garrett Richards, however that falls, we’ll have the depth there. But there’s a lot riding on what these guys who take the ball every night can do. We need to see that come into play every night.”

How do you handle who is hitting third or fourth between Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols?

“Josh and Albert’s splits are great. Josh hit left-handers well last year, so there’s no a lot you will have to do as far as that is concerned in that regard. Anyway, we want to shuffle the offensive side. We are going to be good, and the attention I think we need to put on is definitely going to be in our rotation and making sure that is deep and solid and seeing how the roles in our bullpen will evolve, but whoever hits third or fourth will most likely right now…we are looking at Albert hitting third and Josh hitting fourth. We are going to have a deep offensive lineup and that’s going to be important.”

What kind of guy is Josh Hamilton? How will Josh fit into the clubhouse?

“There’s no doubt that Josh Hamilton had some issues in his past. He is very accountable. He is very straight forward. … He understands the situation. He has a great support unit around him and we are going to have to be a part of that now. This guy is a tremendous baseball player. He’s a guy who understands his situation, understands what he needs to do and that’s where we want to continue to support him and get him out there playing baseball at the high level he’s been playing.”

How about managing Josh Hamilton’s support group?

“Well there’s always issues you deal with, every team and every clubhouse. There are going to be distractions you are going to have to work towards and hopefully they evaporate. This is just one more of those. We’ll deal with it as it comes. We’ll be well prepared for whatever we need to do with every player and Josh Hamilton will be an extension of that.”

Listen to Mike Scioscia on FOX Sports Radio

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