Notes: Halos to cut ties with Hillenbrand
Disgruntled DH will be designated for assignment Friday
ANAHEIM -- Moments after the final out of Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Royals was recorded, the Angels announced that designated hitter Shea Hillenbrand was advised that he will be designated for assignment Friday, and will not be traveling to Baltimore with the team to begin a nine-game road trip.
Hillenbrand was seen in the clubhouse saying his final goodbyes to his teammates, but declined to comment. Manager Mike Scioscia maintained that the move was not fueled by the comments published in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday regarding Hillenbrand's growing dissension stemming from limited appearances in the starting lineup.
"Shea's been great around here," Scioscia said after the game. "He spoke his mind. He's been ultra-professional in that clubhouse. He's great to have around. It's just a situation where he's not going to get the at-bats to get back into his game, and if he's not going to get [those], he's not going to help us.
"He's too young to be sitting around here for two months and not really getting a chance to be productive. We got some other bats that are swinging, that are working right now. We're going to ride those out, and hopefully it'll be enough offense to get us to our goal."
Hillenbrand said in the article that it was "disheartening" being relegated to the dugout and watching after falling short of lofty expectations placed upon him by the Angels staff. He entertained the prospect of being traded while maintaining that he does not want to distract his teammates despite feeling like he was "pushed aside."
"I don't think there was anything that was said that was out of line," Scioscia said before the contest. "I've talked to him a handful of times on this issue, and he's fine in the clubhouse. I think he answered questions candidly, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Hillenbrand currently holds a .254 average with 22 RBIs and three home runs. His most productive outing came against Houston on June 18. He cracked three hits to tie a season high, while knocking in a pair of runs to raise his average nine points, from .246 to .255. Despite batting .333 this month and riding a seven-game hit streak -- also a season-high -- Hillenbrand's appearances have grown increasingly infrequent.
"We certainly have based a lot of our offense around what he was going to be able to bring," Scioscia said. "We haven't seen it so far. With the emergence of Reggie [Willits] and other guys swinging the bats well, it's been tough on Shea. But we have some chemistry that's formed and some continuity. It's something that we've searched to get for a long time, and we have it now. We want it to continue."
When asked if Hillenbrand should have simply stayed quiet and collected his paycheck in the interest of protecting team cohesion, Scioscia debunked any notion of his player being motivated by money.
"I don't think that's the nature of a competitive person," he said. "Shea loves to play the game of baseball. When you love to play the game, and you feel that you still have the ability to play, to contribute, that's your driving force to play the game. It's not to get paid."
Listen up: "We got to turn the page on this one, come back out here tomorrow afternoon and just get into our game, play better. The Royals are a young, aggressive club, and they've taken it to us these two games. They just kept pounding us. They hit the ball, they hit the long ball, they ran the bases well. They outplayed us. They've beaten us the last two nights in about everything you can talk about. We've got to readjust and give ourselves a chance to win a game. We haven't given ourselves much of a chance the last couple nights." -- Scioscia, after losing two straight to the Royals by a combined margin of 17-7. The two-game skid marks the first time the Angels have dropped consecutive home games since May 6 and 8.
Down on the farm: A three-hit, two-homer performance by outfielder Matt Brown paced the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees in an 11-7 win over the Sacramento River Cats on Tuesday.
Catcher Jeff Mathis and shortstop Gary Patchett added a pair of hits and two RBIs each for the Bees, helping them to a 43-36 Pacific Coast League mark, good for a first-place tie in the standings.
On deck: Right-hander Kelvim Escobar (9-3, 2.81 ERA) looks to pick up his third straight win and further cement the legitimacy of his All-Star bid against southpaw Brian Burres (3-2, 3.36 ERA) to start a three-game series at Baltimore on Friday at 4:05 p.m. PT.
Larry Santana is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.