SAN DIEGO -- The Angels, in case you hadn't noticed, are the kings of Interleague Play -- whatever that means.Heading into Saturday's game against the Padres at Petco Park, and following a 7-2 win in Friday's series opener, the Angels are 63-28 in Interleague Play since the start of 2007 and 133-84 since 2000, two records that are tops in the Majors, and have won nine straight series against National League opponents. Last year, the Angels finished 13-5 in Interleague Play, tying the Yankees for the Majors' best record, and got a big boost from it. During a 15-game chunk against NL teams that began in mid-June, the Angels went from four games below .500 and 3 1/2 games out of first place to three games over .500 and tied for first. Part of the reason for his team's Interleague success, manager Mike Scioscia believes, stems from not having one everyday designated hitter in the past, which meant Angels lineups wouldn't suffer as much as those of other American League clubs when playing at NL parks. This year, with Kendrys Morales entrenched as the full-time DH, it's different. But the Angels are hoping Morales can get comfortable at first base by their June 8-13 road trip -- when they play in Colorado and Los Angeles -- and sporadically plug Albert Pujols in at third base to keep them both in there.
Scioscia hopeful Torii will return by May 27
SAN DIEGO -- It's been almost a full week since Torii Hunter left the Angels to deal with a sexual-assault charge filed against his 17-year-old son in Texas, but manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday that he thinks they're "moving toward" having Hunter join them at some point in this 10-game road trip, which ends May 27 in Seattle."I don't want to comment on specifics, but hopefully he'll start to feel comfortable enough in that situation to come back here and play baseball," Scioscia said. "Hopefully it'll be some time on this road trip, but we're still just letting Torii take care of the matter." Scioscia wouldn't go into detail on whether that was his assumption or something Hunter told him, but said it's "tough to put a date" on when exactly Hunter would be back. Hunter was placed on the restricted list by the Angels on Monday, when his son, Darius McClinton-Hunter, was one of two legal adults who -- along with two juveniles -- were arrested in Prosper, Texas, for the alleged sexual assault of a child, which would apply to anyone 16 years old or younger and is considered a second-degree felony. In a conference call on Thursday, one of the family's lawyers, Todd Shapiro, said he has audio and written statements from the girl who originally filed the charges against McClinton-Hunter, in which Shapiro claims she "recanted everything that she told police" in a Wednesday-night phone conversation with a "close family friend" of the Hunters, and wants all charges dropped against Hunter's son. Shapiro added that Hunter will be away from the Angels "until this matter reaches a point where it's either resolved or at least under control." When Hunter does return, he may need some time to get back into a rhythm. "We're going to assess where he is," Scioscia said. "He has been trying to do some work to try to stay where he is."
Trout, Bourjos provide explosive 1-2 punch
SAN DIEGO -- The top two spots of the Angels' batting order on Saturday represented one of the fastest possible combinations in baseball.Leading off was Mike Trout, who was clocked at 3.53 seconds from home to first on a bunt single earlier this year. Batting second was Peter Bourjos, who previously rounded the bases on an inside-the-park homer in 14 seconds. "It's exciting," Bourjos said of hitting behind Trout. "If he gets on, the options are endless." Saturday marked only the second time Trout and Bourjos have made up the top two spots in the Angels' lineup -- it also happened Sept. 27, 2011 -- and just the fourth time they've been in the same batting order this season. It took the perfect storm for the pairing to take place -- spacious Petco Park, lefty on the mound, Torii Hunter still gone, Vernon Wells getting a day off, Alberto Callaspo batting sixth to provide more depth -- and it seems like more of an anomaly than the start of any trend. Trout, who reached base four times Friday and is batting .413 over his last 12 games, will continue to hit leadoff. But Bourjos' starts have been very spread out since Trout's April 28 callup, with Wells continuing to play every day in left field, and manager Mike Scioscia indicated that he generally wants more on-base percentage from the No. 2 spot than he believes Bourjos is currently able to provide. "I think as Peter grows as a player," Scioscia added, "like we're seeing Mark Trumbo grow, and on-base becomes a part of what he's about, there's no doubt that Peter's speed plays [in the Nos. 1 or 2 spot] big time." Before any of that progress takes place, though, Bourjos simply has to play regularly. And for the last three weeks, that hasn't been the case.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.