05/15/10 10:00 PM ET
Wilson showing Angels he's ready to return
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Scioscia confident in Matsui
ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia has stressed to the Japanese media the past few days that it wasn't a demotion when he dropped Hideki Matsui another spot in the order, to sixth, after he'd spent the early part of the season hitting cleanup."Hideki, we know he's going to be fine," Scioscia said, Matsui having delivered the knockout blow on Friday night with a three-run homer against Dallas Braden, his first long one in three weeks. "We need some guys to swing the bat. He's one of them. "He's going to be in the middle of the lineup somewhere, driving in runs like last night. We're seeing better swings. I don't think he was far off. When any player is struggling, it usually takes something simple to bring it back. Nothing has been mechanically different with Hideki." With two hits against Braden, Matsui emerged from a 6-for-56 slumber. The man from Japan has been feeling better at the plate incrementally the past few days, improving his balance and feeling more comfortable with his swing. "It's getting there, little by little," he said, with characteristic humility.
Angels' rotation is improving
ANAHEIM -- With Jered Weaver firmly establishing himself as a top-shelf pitcher, delivering quality starts in six of seven outings while leading the American League with 59 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched, the Angels' rotation appears to be getting closer to the form anticipated this spring by manager Mike Scioscia.Following a dismal April -- their group ERA was 5.02 with 25 homers allowed in 24 games -- Angels starters put together a combined 3.65 ERA in May heading into Saturday night's effort by Ervin Santana. They had yielded only six homers in 79 innings and owned a collective 1.84 ERA across the past seven outings, covering 49 innings. "Starting pitching is the foundation of our club," Scioscia said. "We need it, along with the defense that supports it." When Joe Saunders claimed his 50th career win on Friday night with his four-hit shutout of the Athletics, the Angels became the only club in the Majors with all five starters having achieved that milestone. Joel Pineiro, who works Sunday's series finale, is the leader with 89 wins against 83 losses and a 4.40 career ERA. Santana (60-48, 4.51) is next, followed by Scott Kazmir (56-49, 3.93), Weaver (55-29, 3.64) and Saunders (50-27, 4.28). All five starters are signed or under club control through the 2011 season.
ANAHEIM -- Bobby Abreu is five doubles shy of 500. When he reaches the milestone, he'll join Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson and Craig Biggio as the only players in history with at least 500 doubles, 250 homers and 350 steals. Abreu is the only active player with at least 350 steals and 250-plus homers. ... How much do the Angels miss Jeff Mathis, sidelined for at least two more weeks with a fractured right wrist? Consider they were 7-7 when he went to the disabled list and were 6-4 in his starts. He hit safely in all 10 games, carrying a .324 batting average and .500 slugging percentage. The Angels are 10-17 in games Mathis hasn't played and are 9-14 since he went to the disabled list. ... Second baseman Alexi Amarista of Class A Rancho Cucamonga, the organization's defensive player of the month for April, has six hits and four RBIs in his past eight at-bats. At Double-A Arkansas, Manuel Flores has yielded one earned run in his past two starts, covering 13 2/3 innings.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.