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08/13/08 9:22 PM ET
Second-half surge familiar to Anderson
Angels outfielder has raised average 26 points since break
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Despite batting .305 in the second half last season and a .386 batting average since the All-Star break this season, Angels outfielder Garret Anderson doesn't want to be known as a second-half hitter. The left-handed hitter, who holds Angels career records for games played, hits, runs, doubles, total bases and RBIs, wants to be known as more than just a second-half hitter, even at 36 years old. "I want to be known as a whole-season guy," Anderson said. "Second-half guys don't get a chance to get to the second half if they don't have a good first half." Anderson, though, certainly has been a second-half hitter this season, as he carried a .263 batting average into the All-Star break and has lifted it to a more respectable .289 on the season. His .386 batting average since the break is the second-best mark in the American League. But his teammates weren't worried about his slow start because he is a career .296 hitter over 15 seasons and has batted at least .280 in each of his previous 13 seasons. "Early on, he struggled trying to find his swing and all that, but us as players, we knew he'd do what he was going to do," fellow outfielder Torii Hunter said. "Garret's been around a long time and ... with that swing you can't struggle for too long." But Anderson's second-half success has become a trend the past few years as he has improved his batting average considerably after the All-Star break each of the past three years. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't quite sure why that's been happening with Anderson. "It's strange with what we've seen from Garret the last couple years," Scioscia said. "It's been a second-half surge. He'd been so consistent over the course of his career that you've never notice these huge upswings or downswings. It's a trend you have to look at, but it's tough to put your finger on one thing." Anderson couldn't explain why he's done so well in the second half the past few seasons either, but he did say playing every day is a major reason why he turned it around this season. "I've maintained that my whole career that I need to play every day to keep that familiarity," Anderson said. "I don't work too well when I have days off. At least that's what I feel. The results may be different, they might be positive, but I know mentally I feel a lot better when I play every day." Anderson has surely benefited from playing just about every day since the break as he carried a 17-game hit streak into Wednesday's game against the Mariners, which is the longest streak by an Angel this season.
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.