Vlad vows to take same approach vs. old team
First game against Halos won't change Rangers slugger
ARLINGTON -- Vladimir Guerrero isn't going to change anything he's been doing when he faces his former team for the first time with the Rangers. What he's doing now is working just fine going into the two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.There's no need to change anything that has seen his numbers improve from one of his least productive seasons in his career. "Nothing different. I have to just keep playing the same way I've been playing," Guerrero said. After not being re-signed following last season after seeing his numbers fall, there was doubt as to whether he could be the offensive threat that he was during his six years with the Angels. So far, he's responding well. His on-base percentage has risen by more than 30 points, his slugging percentage has risen by more than 60 points and his average has gone from .295 to .336. He's almost halfway to his season total in home runs from last year with seven after hitting just 15 in 2009. He entered Monday's game tied for second in the American League in RBIs (31) and was fifth in hits with 47. That comes as no surprise to Guerrero's former manager, Mike Scioscia. "We thought Vlad had a lot of baseball left in him," he said. "His bat speed is still there, and he's been a force in the batter's box." A lot of the credit may be due to the ballpark Guerrero now plays in. He leads the AL in batting average at home at .397 and has hit safely in 16 of 20 contests at home. For his career, he's hit safely in Rangers Ballpark in 60 of his 70 career games and has the highest batting average and slugging percentage of anyone to play in Rangers Ballpark. "Sometimes I feel good when I'm at the plate. Nothing special," Guerrero said of his success at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "When I stand at the plate I feel good." As impressive as Guerrero's numbers have been so far this season, he'll look to crack another first in the two-game series against his former club. He's homered against 29 of the 30 major league clubs, with the lone exception being those Angels. Should he get one out of the park this season against the Angels, he'll become just the 31st player in Major League history to homer against all 30 clubs. But Scioscia doesn't think there will be much fanfare when Guerrero comes to the plate for the first time against his old team. "We saw him a little bit in Spring Training," Scioscia said. "I think the novelty wears off when you see a guy in a different uniform. "I think that first shock kind of melts away after awhile." It won't be the first time Guerrero has faced the Angels, though. He faced them twice while playing with Montreal in 2003 in a pair of games in Puerto Rico. Rangers manager Ron Washington shares Guerrero's sentiment that his approach shouldn't be any different this time around, despite the name on the opposing team's jersey. "I wouldn't change what I do. I wouldn't change what I am," Washington said. "I will definitely be locked in but I wouldn't try to do anything special. "It's just a game on that day. But the focus is a little more tight, no doubt about it." But for now, Guerrero isn't worried about the story lines surrounding his game against the Angels and issues over contract offers. For now, he's just enjoying where he's at. "I cannot do anything about that," Guerrero said. "I'm here and I have to play with the Rangers and I'm happy here."
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.