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Brain Trust Will Have Meeting of Minds Today

Times Staff Writer

Angels owner Arte Moreno, General Manager Bill Stoneman and Manager Mike Scioscia will hold a summit meeting of sorts today in Mesa, Ariz., with an objective of exchanging ideas to improve an underachieving team that is mired in last place in the American League West with a 32-40 record.

Stoneman, who called for the meeting on an off day before a three-game series at Arizona, has been very reluctant to part with top prospects or valuable young big leaguers in trades, for either a starting pitcher several years ago or an impact hitter in recent years.

But the way the Angels’ offense is struggling, Stoneman may have little choice but to part with some young talent if he wants to acquire an established power hitter such as Washington’s Alfonso Soriano, Milwaukee’s Carlos Lee or Baltimore’s Miguel Tejada.

“The question is one of opportunity,” Stoneman said. “We never said we wouldn’t give up young guys. It’s a question of what you can get back.

“If it’s a good impact player, you should be willing to give up young guys. But I don’t know if we’ll get to a point where we totally sell out the future. History shows that’s not the way to do it.”

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Recent history shows this Angels offense does not have enough power to sustain long stretches of productivity, and their current stretch -- 10 consecutive games with four runs or less before Wednesday’s 6-3 victory over the Giants -- has added a renewed sense of urgency to the team’s quest for offense.

“Something needs to happen,” pitcher John Lackey said after Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss. “A move could help, definitely.”

Stoneman said he’s “having a lot of conversations with other clubs, and we hope that leads to something that can help us.”

In addition to Soriano, Tejada and Lee, the Angels have talked to Tampa Bay about outfielder Carl Crawford. Among the other hitters they could pursue are Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell of the Philadelphia Phillies and Aramis Ramirez and Jacque Jones of the Chicago Cubs.

“There are a ton of ideas being thrown around, but at some point, you’ve got to look at the guys in this clubhouse,” Scioscia said. “They have to step up and do what’s expected of them; then you can more easily define what needs to change.... If it becomes evident we’re not moving in the right direction, then you’re going to contemplate other things.”

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Shoddy defense has plagued the Angels all season -- they’ve given up a major league-high 53 unearned runs -- but catcher Jose Molina, who has essentially lost his starting job to Mike Napoli, provided a defensive lift Wednesday.

In the sixth inning, with the Angels leading, 3-2, Jeff Weaver struck out Mark Sweeney on a full-count pitch, and Molina threw out Randy Winn at second to complete a double play.

“That was huge,” Weaver said. “We had just taken the lead, the tying run was on base with good speed. It was a big lift to get two outs on one play.”

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Orlando Cabrera’s first-inning single extended to 50 the number of consecutive games in which he has reached base via a hit, walk or hit by pitch, the longest streak in the majors since Alex Rodriguez’s 53-game streak in 2004. ... Darin Erstad still hasn’t put his injured right ankle to the test with any baseball activities this week, and if the center fielder doesn’t make enough progress by this weekend, he will return to the disabled list.


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