04/20/11 8:50 PM ET
Veterans guide Chatwood
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Angels find offense from unexpected places
ARLINGTON -- Kendrys Morales hasn't taken a meaningful swing and Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are not yet in prime form, but look who's leading the American League in batting average (.273) and total bases (273) and running second in home runs (21, one fewer than Texas) through 17 games.None other than your Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. With Maicer Izturis, Howard Kendrick and Bobby Abreu leading the way at the top of the order, Alberto Callaspo delivering consistently in the middle and Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos flourishing in the lower third, the Angels have outscored the opposition by 17 runs going into Wednesday night's series finale with Texas. On Tuesday night, Trumbo, Hank Conger and Bourjos combined for nine hits, nine RBIs and seven runs scored. Trumbo and Bourjos both went deep, Bourjos notching the first four-hit game of his career with a double and two singles to go with his homer. "We're hitting the ball to all parts of the field," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That was absolutely a breakout offensive night. Peter got tentative in his first at-bat, but after that he was on it. He's got some pop. It's not, however, the main feature of his game. "He's about as fast as anyone I've seen." Like Erick Aybar, who returned to the lineup on Wednesday after missing 14 games with a strained left oblique, Bourjos has the speed to become a basestealing threat when he becomes more comfortable with reads and leads. That's the one area where the Angels' offense hasn't gotten off the runway: just eight steals in 12 attempts, nine fewer than the opposition.
Willits sad to see Wood go
ARLINGTON -- Reggie Willits was distraught on Tuesday night when he learned that good buddy Brandon Wood had been designated for assignment by the Angels. They've been teammates for years coming up through the farm system and rode the Salt Lake-to-Anaheim shuttle together."If I felt as bad as I did," Willits said on Wednesday, "I can only imagine how Brandon felt. He's one of my best friends, a guy I'd do anything for. I know it's the nature of the game. I don't think you ever forget it's a business. We all know every day you have is a blessing. "I know Brandon's going to go out and get an opportunity, and if he gets an opportunity to play every day, he's going to play well. I truly believe he has the skill set to be an everyday Major League player. "It doesn't seem like it now, but maybe this can be the best thing for him, to turn a negative into a big positive. It's hard to perform at the highest level when you're not getting consistent at-bats. I've seen him do it since we signed. I pretty much played at every level with him. The guy can flat-out hit." Angels manager Mike Scioscia felt Wood's own expectations might have added to the pressure he felt when he inherited the third-base job last season that had belonged to Chone Figgins. Wood stumbled, eventually losing the job. "I think his expectations were off the charts in terms of what he could do," Scioscia said. "That's not bad. Our expectations were high. Brandon's were higher for himself. I'm not sure if that created pressure in his situation. "There's only so much of a window a player gets with one club. Sometimes that window closes. Some things were not in his control. [Alberto] Callaspo and [Maicer] Izturis are really playing well. "His journey's not over."
Minor League updates
ARLINGTON -- Two of the Angels' premier pitching prospects, Trevor Bell and Trevor Reckling, delivered solid performances on Tuesday.Bell, pitching for Triple-A Salt Lake, took the loss in a 4-0 Pacific Coast League victory by Las Vegas, but his command was excellent: one walk against seven strikeouts in seven innings. Bell yielded four earned runs on six hits, falling to 1-2. Reckling, who struggled with his control early last season, was in the strike zone on 56 of 75 pitches in Double-A Arkansas' 1-0 loss to Frisco in a five-inning game shortened by weather. Reckling struck out five hitters and didn't walk a man, giving up five hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings. Mike Trout is off to a strong start for Arkansas, hitting .304 with four homers and nine RBIs in 12 games. He also has stolen three bases. Second baseman Ryan Mount is even hotter, batting .375 with two homers, 10 RBIs and four steals.
Joel Pineiro, on the disabled list with right shoulder tightness, moved closer to a Minor League rehab outing with three innings and 45 pitches in a camp game in Arizona on Tuesday. "He pitched very well," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "and his stuff was terrific. We'll reevaluate him [Thursday]."
Kendrys Morales will rejoin the Angels at Angel Stadium to continue his running program.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.