Angels shift toward a leadoff platoon. Josh Hamilton seems to be the culprit.

Mike Trout has said he enjoys hitting leadoff. It’s what he has done for most of his baseball life and what he did Monday and Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. But he was batting second again for the Angels on Thursday night.

Peter Bourjos, the leadoff hitter Wednesday, wasn’t batting first either.

Erick Aybar was the first man up Thursday after a 13-game absence from the top of the order, and manager Mike Scioscia said that the top of the order could be a rotating affair beyond tonight.

“We feel it’s important to have Albert (Pujols) behind Mike, so we’re going to keep Mike in the two-hole right now and look at other options as some guys start to swing better,” Scioscia said. “Mike’s a guy you want to have somebody behind that can protect him, so we’ll just pop somebody up front right now. If we have to rotate out of the one hole we’ll do it, but the big issue is trying to keep a little continuity through the order.”

Scioscia mentioned Josh Hamilton‘s name several times without prompt.

Without saying it outright, the manager suggested a lineup shuffle was necessitated by the fact that Hamilton batted .190 (8 for 42) in the number-two spot. Hamilton batted seventh for the second straight day Thursday, and Scioscia said “we’re going to keep Josh down where he’s hitting right now until he gets comfortable.”

“Ideally you’d love to have a lineup settle and people knowing where they’re coming in to hit the next 10 years,” Scioscia said. “That’s not always where you are. I think eventually Mike (Trout) will settle and be hitting in the middle of the lineup as he gets into his career, but right now his versatility on the offensive side is important.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.