Teammates effusive in praise of Trumbo
Angels say rookie has been key to club's rise in 2011
TORONTO -- Wise beyond his 25 years, Mark Trumbo understands that rookies are best served being seen and felt, not heard. Only with media probing will the Angels' first baseman talk, humbly and briefly, about exploits (29 homers, 87 RBIs and counting) worthy of the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
While Trumbo internalizes his innermost thoughts, teammates aren't as shy in discussing his prowess with a bat in his hands. Veteran Vernon Wells watches Trumbo go about his business with a keen eye, recalling the early development of Toronto slugger Jose Bautista when they were linked in the Jays' lineup.
"The scary thing is he's still learning his swing, learning the pitchers in the league," Wells said of Trumbo, who is two homers away from Tim Salmon's club record for rookies. "He's already put himself at the top of the league as far as raw power is concerned.
"It takes time. It's a fair comparison. Bautista's swing is so quick; he generates so much power. In [batting practice], you can see the kind of raw power Trumbo has."
Added Torii Hunter: "Trumbo has awesome power. He's done some things you just don't see. He's one of the biggest reasons we're where we are."
After a mammoth Triple-A season (36 homers, 122 RBIs) with Salt Lake last season, Trumbo was expected to be a role player, backing up Kendrys Morales at first base while playing some outfield. But when Morales was lost for the season, requiring a second left ankle procedure, Trumbo became a pivotal player.
Manager Mike Scioscia says the Angels wouldn't be in contention without Trumbo's work, especially in the clutch.
"I'm never one for personal accolades," Trumbo said. "I've had enough opportunities, enough at-bats, to put some numbers up. It's all I asked for."
Angels infielders share in stellar season
TORONTO -- Howard Kendrick is the certified All-Star in the group, but four other Angels infielders have shared star billing over the course of the season, providing uncommon production offensively and high-caliber defense rivaling any unit in the American League.
Shortstop Erick Aybar came into Thursday night's series finale against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre having reached base in 33 consecutive games, the AL's best active run. His leather work merits Rawlings Gold Glove Award consideration.
Equally good defensively have been his middle-infield partners, Kendrick and Maicer Izturis. Kendrick, with a career-high 18 homers, and Izturis, with a team-best 35 doubles, have provided offense along with serving as middle men on an infield that has turned more double plays than all but two teams in the Majors.
Mark Trumbo's power numbers (team highs with 29 homers and 87 RBIs) make him arguably the leading AL Rookie of the Year candidate, but he also has exceeded expectations defensively. His major defensive strength is found in those double-play numbers with his ability to make quick, accurate throws to second on ground balls his way.
The primary third baseman, Alberto Callaspo has been one of the game's most efficient contact hitters while playing consistently steady defense.
An outfield that many scouts consider the game's best tends to draw most of the attention, but the infield has been just as steady and spectacular in helping the Angels' staff forge an AL-best ERA.
Haren 'good to go' after line-drive scare
TORONTO -- Angels right-hander Dan Haren was feeling much better, and highly relieved, after getting drilled in the left wrist with a line-drive smash off the bat of Toronto's Eric Thames in the eighth inning of Wednesday night's 7-2 Angels win.
"I remember seeing Thames walking off the field," Haren said, having given up one run in eight innings, "and that's when I realized we'd gotten him out [on a deflection to second baseman Maicer Izturis]. I didn't know what happened after the ball hit me and I went down."
Haren still had some expected soreness in the wrist and was wearing orthopedic tape to protect the bruised area.
"It shouldn't limit anything," he said. "I'm going light in between starts this time of year anyway. I'll be fine in a day or two when it loosens up."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he expected Haren to be able to do his normal between-starts work, whether in the bullpen or on flat ground, and be ready for his next start on Monday night against the Rangers at Angel Stadium.
"Dan should be good to go," Scioscia said.
Izturis sits, Abreu at DH for Halos' road finale
TORONTO -- Maicer Izturis, coming off a three-hit, two-RBI night and leading the Angels with a .318 road batting average, was not in the lineup on Thursday night for the club's road season finale against the Blue Jays.
Angels manager Mike Sciosica opted to go with Alberto Callaspo at third base and with Bobby Abreu in the designated-hitter role, leaving Izturis to come off the bench if needed. Scioscia likes having the switch-hitter available for big moments late in games with his .317 career average with runners in scoring position.
Callaspo also has been swinging a hot bat, hitting .400 on the 10-game road trip. Abreu is hitting .200 on the trip and is coming off one of the worst games of his career, striking out four times in five at-bats during Wednesday night's 7-2 win.
"I want Bobby in front of guys who are going to drive the ball, because of the way he can get on base," Scioscia said, explaining why Abreu was batting third in front of Torii Hunter, Mark Trumbo, Callaspo and scalding-hot Vernon Wells.
Abreu is the Angels' most patient hitter. His .353 on-base percentage is the second highest among the team's regulars behind Callaspo's .365. But Abreu's other numbers (.251 batting average, .360 slugging) are down, and he has struck out 111 times.
"Bobby had a rough night last night," Scioscia said, "but he's given us good at-bats. He's started to hit the ball a little crisper."
Izturis is batting .280 with .394 slugging and .339 on-base marks. He leads the team with 35 doubles.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.