Angels manager Mike Scioscia reiterated Thursday that he prefers to keep Mike Trout and Albert Pujols connected in the lineup, which means the 2-3-4 spots figure to be Trout-Pujols-Josh Hamilton, respectively, and that a new leadoff man will have to emerge.

Kole Calhoun still looks like the leading candidate, though Erick Aybar is also an option. Scioscia isn't making any declaration before Spring Training starts.

"I think Kole's definitely a candidate," Scioscia said Thursday, just before his annual preseason meeting with the Angels' staff. "But whoever's hitting in front of Mike needs to be a player who first of all can take advantage of being challenged, and secondly bring some on-base [percentage] to be able to set the table and run at a descent speed where you're not clogging the bases up. Kole's definitely a candidate for that. That guy's going to have to hit his way on base."

In other words: Whoever bats in front of Trout can expect to get a lot of pitches to hit, because the last thing pitchers will want to do is walk the guy who's batting ahead of him.

Scioscia likes having Pujols behind Trout because it should diminish the amount of times Trout is intentionally walked, and because Pujols is the guy he wants up if Trout is given a free pass. Scioscia also likes having Trout bat second because of the RBI opportunities.

In 2012, while solely batting first, Trout had 135 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.