ANAHEIM -- When Mike Scioscia was asked if J.B. Shuck was a legitimate candidate for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, the Angels manager's response was simple.
"Absolutely," Scioscia said.
For obvious reasons, Shuck is not getting the attention that Mike Trout did when he ran away with the award in 2012, but Shuck enters Tuesday leading all AL rookies in hits (108), doubles (17) , runs scored (50) and total bases (137).
"I won't say [I'm] surprised, because you're really not sure, he only had less than 100 at-bats in the Major Leagues, so you're not really sure what a player's track record is going to be," Scioscia said of Shuck's season. "But, you can definitely see the growth from the first day he came to camp with us and where he is now. The comfort level, the production has been there."
Shuck, who was released by the Astros in the offseason -- signed a Minor League contract with the Angels in November, hit .358 in Spring Training and made the Opening Day roster.
Since then, Shuck has played in 109 games for the Angels in the outfield and as the designated hitter with a .297 batting average and 30 multi-hit games.
"We projected he had the potential to do some of the things that we are seeing him do on the field, and he is doing them on a consistent basis," Scioscia said. "He's having a terriffic year."
Hanson struggling to regain form at Triple-A
ANAHEIM -- Tommy Hanson has made four starts since he was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Aug. 12, but only one has resulted in a quality start.
"He's had a couple outings there, still has some of the things that he's trying to work through that we saw up here," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He'll pitch in the playoffs down there and see if he can take a step forward and we can see where he fits in on our club."
The right-hander was optioned after a three-start stretch in which he posted an 8.59 ERA and allowed 15 runs (14 earned) in 14 2/3 innings.
Hanson failed to get through the sixth in any of those three starts and has also had trouble going deep into games in Salt Lake, where he is 0-2 with a 5.49 ERA.
"It's a frustrating time for Tommy, and hopefully he'll get back on track," Scioscia said.
Iannetta makes debut at second spot in lineup
ANAHEIM -- When Angels catcher Chris Iannetta looked at Tuesday's lineup card, he was a bit surprised.
For the first time in his eight-year career, Iannetta saw his name in the second spot of the batting order.
"They have their reasons for putting me there," Iannetta said. "Obviously what I've done or what I'm able to do, matches up with what they're trying to do. So, they plugged me in there."
Those "reasons" are basic enough.
The catcher has shown a lot of discipline at the plate, posting a .355 on-base percentage against a .212 batting average entering Tuesday night's matchup with Rays lefty Matt Moore.
"I think Chris will bring a couple things -- first, his on-base percentage, second his ability to see some pitches and make more work for some outs early," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He really hangs in there against left-handed pitching well. When you're weighing the pros and cons, obviously you're concerned about the running speed in front of Mike [Trout] and things like that, but -- especially tonight -- it is outweighed if he can bring his on-base percentage into the game."
With 61 walks and 57 hits, Iannetta is the only player in baseball (with at least 100 at-bats) to have more walks than hits.
Although the spot in the order may have changed, Iannetta said his approach will not.
"I don't care where I hit as long as I'm playing in the lineup," Iannetta said.
• The Angels' top three Minor League affiliates begin postseason play Wednesday. Triple-A Salt Lake hosts Las Vegas, Double-A Arkansas travels to Tulsa and Class A Inland Empire travels to Rancho Cucamonga.
• Right-hander Juan Gutierrez, who has not pitched since Aug. 24 because of biceps inflammation, is healthy and ready for action.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.