ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto says he has resigned, but the team is refusing to confirm his departure.
Dipoto told the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register on Wednesday that he has quit after 3 1/2 years with the Angels, but manager Mike Scioscia and Angels spokesman Tim Mead repeatedly declined to acknowledge any changes ahead of a team meeting before their game against the New York Yankees.
Dipoto's mostly successful tenure apparently came to an abrupt end shortly after details of another team meeting were leaked to Fox Sports. Scioscia and Dipoto previously have clashed over philosophical differences during the GM's tenure, and the latest dispute reportedly concerned Dipoto's desire for the Angels to play with more attention to statistical analysis and scouting reports.
Scioscia still claims he is working well as a team with Dipoto, but the executive apparently is leaving the big-budget Angels (41-37), who have won four straight games to move a season-high four games over .500. Scioscia repeatedly claimed he didn't know what was going on with Dipoto during his pregame availability, saying he hadn't spoken to Dipoto in the past 24 hours.
''I think our team is pretty focused,'' Scioscia said before Wednesday's game. ''I think you can see that, so I don't know if there is anything along those lines, as far as a distraction. I think we've been playing well on the field, and hopefully that's our focus.''
Scioscia is the longest-tenured manager in baseball, running the Angels' dugout since 2000. He is signed through 2018, but can opt out of the deal this winter.
The Angels' players learned about Dipoto's impending departure from news reports, but they've endured their share of bizarre episodes with mercurial owner Arte Moreno's franchise.
Earlier this season, an angry Moreno traded Josh Hamilton back to Texas, eating an astonishing portion of his $125 million contract just to be rid of the troubled, underachieving former AL MVP who was hoping for a comeback.
''All around, a weird year in the front office with what's going on with Jerry and then what happened with Josh,'' left-hander Hector Santiago said. ''Definitely one of the weirder years for me.''
The 47-year-old Dipoto is a former major league reliever who briefly served as the Arizona Diamondbacks' interim GM before the Angels hired him in late 2011 to replace Tony Reagins.
Dipoto has had a moderately successful tenure with the Angels, who won 98 games and the AL West title last season in their only playoff appearance under his leadership. His contract option for 2016 was picked up earlier this season by the Angels, who are playing some of their best baseball of a mediocre season over the past two weeks.
''I don't know any of the details,'' AL MVP Mike Trout said. ''We can't change our game. We're going to go out there and play our hardest.''
Dipoto capably handled the pressure of working for the willful Moreno, who initiated and made the final decisions on the club's lavish signings of sluggers Albert Pujols and Hamilton.
The pressure of working with Scioscia apparently is tougher, and it apparently boiled over after the most recent team meeting - although that was a surprise to Santiago and other players.
''I didn't even know there was any tension at all,'' Santiago said. ''I didn't know the past, what happened years ago. We had our meeting the other day, but it wasn't anything intense. Definitely didn't see this coming from that meeting. Unexpected, for sure, there's no doubt about it. ... I didn't see anything in that meeting leading to this.''
Scioscia and Dipoto first clashed in 2012 when Dipoto fired Mickey Hatcher, Scioscia's longtime hitting coach and friend, again over an apparent resistance to statistical analysis. After Moreno forced them to keep working together, the two appeared to mend their relationship in recent years, but it apparently frayed again this year with the Angels' mediocre start to the season.
The Angels' poor farm system has been partially restocked by Dipoto, and he signed starting pitchers C.J. Wilson, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago while rebuilding the bullpen around Huston Street and Joe Smith. He also signed Trout to a six-year, $144.5 million contract extension through 2020.
But Dipoto also had several costly misses in free agency, including a disastrous class in 2013: Hamilton, Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson, Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett all failed in Anaheim. The Angels finished 18 games out of first place with just 78 wins, their worst record in a decade.
Dipoto also appeared to have no say in the matter when the Angels shipped Hamilton to a division rival despite having no solid alternative in left field.
The Angels led the majors in runs last season, but have little offensive punch this season beyond Pujols and Trout. Pujols, who is in the fourth season of a 10-year, $240 million contract, flatly denied criticizing the Angels' current roster during the team meeting last weekend.
Pujols didn't deny exchanging vehement words with Dipoto, however.
''That's none of your business,'' Pujols told reporters. ''Whatever happened in the clubhouse, it stays in the clubhouse.''