Mike Trout is in the Angels’ starting lineup this afternoon

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The Angels have dropped five straight games and currently sit in last place in the American League West with a 6-14 record, so they are hoping the newly-promoted Mike Trout can provide a much-needed spark for their lineup.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Trout will bat leadoff and play left field this afternoon against the Indians. Peter Bourjos will make the start in center field while Vernon Wells is out of the lineup. The Angels didn’t call up Trout to sit on the bench, so his playing time figures to come at the expense of either Wells or Bourjos on most days. Mark Trumbo will make the start at third base this afternoon.

The comparisons to Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper are only natural and hopefully they’ll continue for the next 15-20 years, but Trout is probably the better bet to succeed in 2012. The 20-year-old already had 135 plate appearances in the majors last year and while Harper was merely holding his own against Triple-A pitching prior to his promotion, Trout was hitting .403/.467/.623 with ten extra-base hits (one homer), 13 RBI, six stolen bases and a 1.091 OPS with Salt Lake.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.