The great experiment begins

ANAHEIM -- Mark Trumbo hit a majestic home run Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, a blast that cleared the first section of bleachers in left-center field and landed about 444 feet from home plate.

It's that kind of raw might -- scouts rank his power near the top of their scale -- that has convinced manager Mike Scioscia to go against some of his most deeply held beliefs -- in pitching and defense -- to try Trumbo at third base. Of course, few things are permanent in this game.

"Ultimately, it's going to be my defense that determines how much I play," Trumbo said. "I have to bring enough in that regard to convince them I can do this."

At times, Trumbo looked perfectly comfortable at third in spring training. He made some diving stops and generally handled routine grounders. Other plays were adventuresome. He made four errors, most on the team, some of them on fairly routine plays.

It's not an easy thing to do. ESPN SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield did a little research and found that only 24 players since 1950 have made the transition from first to third and played 300 games or more there. Only one of those, Enos Cabell, did not play third base in the minors, like Trumbo.

The Angels are trying to keep things simple. For a while, Trumbo might start there only when flyball pitcher Jered Weaver is on the mound or on nights the Angels face a left-handed pitcher. It also helps that they have a Gold Glove shortstop, Erick Aybar, to Trumbo's left.

"We're looking for him to control a step-and-a-half to each side, which is what a lot of good third basemen do," Scioscia said.